Dutch Bank Algo Blamed For GBP Flash Crash

Another rogue algo takes matters into its own binary hands. Time to institute circuit breakers for the tiny FX market, which alone celebrated Obama’s latest set of oratory delight by flash crashing all on its lonesome…

From Goldman’s Mitesh Parikh:


GBP – what just happened

To save being asked anymore times – the short answer is I honestly don’t know.. 1.5290 – 1.5168 between 7.56am and 7.57am.. unlikely it was for a fix (that would make sense if closer to 8am), and price action doesn’t suggest a mis-hit since it was ‘walked’ down over the course of the minute albeit exceptionally aggressively (not everyone executes as subtly as we do… no comments please!) We saw Dutch interbank names selling aggressively towards 1.5200 with some suggestion that their algo blew up from a few market sources, although we can’t comment on the validity of this.  Needless to say the market has corrected, cable is back above 1.5300, cross now sub 0.8430 , exactly where we started.

China Decreases Holdings of U.S. Treasuries

China Total holding of US Treasuries: $755.4B v $789.6B prior

Japan Total Holdings of US Treasuries: $768.8B v $757.3B prior 
Oil Exporters total Holdings of US Treasuries: $186.8B v $187.7B prior 
Brazil holdings of US Treasuries $160.6B v $157.1B prior 
Russia holdings of US Treasuries $118.5B v $128.1B prior 
Hong Kong holdings of US Treasuries $152.9B v $146.2B prior 
India holdings of US Treasuries: $29.6B v $31.6B prior

treasuriesWASHINGTON (AP) — The government said Tuesday that foreign demand for U.S. Treasury securities fell by the largest amount on record in December with China reducing its holdings by $34.2 billion.

The reductions in holdings, if they continue, could force the government to make higher interest payments at a time that it is running record federal deficits.

The Treasury Department reported that foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury securities fell by $53 billion in December, surpassing the previous record of a $44.5 billion drop in April 2009.[…] (more…)

Julian Robertson: Obama Is Doing A Terrible Job

Former star hedge fund manager and billionaire Julian Robertson thinks that President Obama is doing a terrible job. Robertson said:

“I’ve made a pretty good living over the years by never hiring anyone that wasn’t a lot smarter than I am. So when I go in a room, I know I’m not the smartest person in the room, not even approaching it. Now Obama, from all I read, thinks that on every occasion that he is the smartest person in the room. And I think he often probably is, but you can’t run the biggest business in the world having never run even a country store. And he’s running into that and he’s just doing an awful job and people see it. He’s enough of a politician to see it – although he’s so cocky maybe he doesn’t see it”

A few news books in Our Library

● Market Sense and Nonsense: How the Markets Really Work (and How They Don’t)
By Jack Schwager
Excerpt via publisher, Wiley
Many investors seek guidance from the advice of financial experts available through both broadcast and print media. Is this advice beneficial? In this chapter, we have examined three cases of financial expert advice, ranging from the recommendation-based record of a popular financial program host to an index based on the directional calls of 10 market experts and finally to the financial newsletter industry. Although this limited sample does not rise to the level of a persuasive proof, the results are entirely consistent with the available academic research on the subject. The general conclusion appears to be that the advice of the financial experts may sometimes trigger an immediate price move as the public responds to their recommendations (a price move that is impossible to capture), but no longer-term net benefit. My advice to equity investors is either buy an index fund (but not after a period of extreme gains—see Chapter 3) or, if you have sufficient interest and motivation, devote the time and energy to develop your own investment or trading methodology. Neither of these approaches involves listening to the recommendations of the experts.

● Who’s the Fairest of Them All?: The Truth about Opportunity, Taxes, and Wealth in America
By Stephen Moore
Review via The Washington Times
Stephen Moore’s latest book, “Who’s the Fairest of Them All?: The Truth About Opportunity, Taxes, and Wealth in America,” fairly sets our liberal friends straight on the issue that seems to be confusing President Obama and the general American public a lot — economics and, in particular, tax policy. Mr. Moore, the senior economics writer for the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, formerly president of the Club for Growth and a fellow of the Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation, has an encyclopedic knowledge of the tax fights of the 1980s. He condenses that nearly three decades in public policy in a slim 119-page volume that is an accessible and thorough guide to understanding economic growth. He understands that if we don’t learn the lessons of the past, we’re bound to repeat the follies, and so he has taken aim squarely at their chief originator, President Obama. While Mr. Obama may think of himself as Snow White — “the fairest of them all” — when it comes to taxing, he’s really Dopey, treating the world as if the Laffer Curve didn’t exist, as if food stamps and unemployment insurance actually grow the economy. (more…)

I Say Lower Rates Below 0%!

Richard Russell can write:

“The big advance from the May 2009 lows was a bear market rally. The good economic news of the last few months were a mixture of hopes, BS government statistics and rosy propaganda from bleary-eyed economists and the administration. There’s no point in my going over all the damage — the plunge in the NASDAQ, the crash in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, the smash in the Morgan Stanley World Index, the gruesome fact that at 1071, the S&P 500 is 24% below its level of ten years ago. The damage in dollar terms is reported to be $5.3 trillion. That sounds to me to be a sh– load of money. And the tragedy is that our government has spent two trillion dollars in a vain attempt to halt or reverse the primary bear trend of the market. I said at the beginning, “Let the bear complete his corrective function.” One way or another, it’s going to happen anyway. Better to have taken the pain and losses — than to push the US to the edge of the cliff. Now with the stock market crashing, the national debt is larger than ever. In fact, it is so large that it can never be paid off, regardless of cut-backs in spending or increases in taxes. Had Obama or Summers or Bernanke understood this, they never would have bled the nation dry in their vain battle to halt the primary bear trend. As I’ve said all along, the primary trend of the market is more powerful than the Fed, the Treasury, and Congress all taken together. Our know-nothing leaders have boxed the US into a situation that is so difficult that, for the life of me, I don’t see how we’re going to get out of it. Well, there’s always one way — renege on our debt. Can a sovereign nation renege on its debt and in effect, declare bankruptcy? Sad to say, I think we may find out. One basic force that the world will have to deal with is deflation. This is the monster that Bernanke is so afraid of. To fight inflation is easy — you just raise interest rates and cut back on the money supply. But deflation is a totally different animal. Interest rates are already at zero. The money has been passed out by the trillions of dollars. The stimuli have been issued. What can Bernanke do in the face of deflation?” (more…)

Democracy Failure Follows Market Failure

Some very spicy comments from the Hungarian prime minister who basically tells the world to get lost (please admire effort to remain polite on his part). In so many words it’s not his fault, it’s the previous administration’s fault. Sounds familiar? Obama has used it at will, Greece has used it, I heard Sarkozy use it, and just about everybody else! Even Republicans who campaigned to “Drill baby drill!” now blame the BP fiasco on Obama. Needless to say political courage is something that no longer exists, and populism has been the only political program offered to us for now a solid 40 years. The natural extension is for a Prime Minister to just walk in and say: “You know what screw you guys, we will default, I am not taking back tax cuts that got me elected, I am not telling people who were promised early retirement that really it’s not feasible, I’m just not going to deal with any of this. Let’s just default and keep doing what we were doing”. In the same line of thought the French PM declared this morning that there is nothing bad about EURUSD at parity.

If you think it’s bad to sell someone a mortgage they can’t pay, how about promising them a lifestyle they can’t afford! Washington has some nerve to blame the financial industry: “a house for every American” was their idea. Granted there is plenty of blame and jail time deserved at many financial institutions but it is true also for Congress. I used to think that over the past 40 years the commodity that was most devalued was human labor but I have changed my mind. A man’s word no longer has any value in most cases. Should the law be changed so that it holds our leaders accountable for their words? Why not, we would get a hell of a clean slate and something to be finally hopeful about. That is change I would believe in for sure. (more…)

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