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Microsecond mercenaries

It used to be that when his trading screens showed 10,000 shares of Intel offered at $22 a share, it meant that he could buy 10,000 shares of Intel for $22 a share. He had only to push a button. By the spring of 2007, however, when he pushed the button to complete a trade, the offers would vanish. In his seven years as a trader, he had always been able to look at the screens on his desk and see the stock market. Now the market as it appeared on his screens was an illusion.
In an excerpt/adaption of his new book Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, Michael Lewis follows Brad Katsuyama from uncovering evidence of high-speed electronic front-running to the founding of the IEX exchange intended to discourage it. The Wolf Hunters of Wall Street (SLNYT).
posted by figurant on Mar 31, 2014 - 153 comments

Aggregate Demand Management: "pass a law allowing the Fed to cut checks"

Free Money for Everyone - "A wacky-sounding idea with surprisingly conservative roots may be our best hope for escaping endless, grinding economic stagnation." (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 16, 2014 - 19 comments

Eugene Fama: "I was getting kind of tired of French..."

"... and so I took an economics course and I loved it," during a phone interview in the early morning today. Likewise, conversations with Robert Shiller and Lars Peter Hansen, shortly after the 2013 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded jointly to them for their academic contributions to the field of asset pricing. UChicago News, Yale News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Bloomberg report. [more inside]
posted by ilicet on Oct 14, 2013 - 23 comments

Gold Crash

"Gold's crash this weekend is, as Oprah might say, a teachable moment. Crashes like this are a good way to find out how markets work. It's like a game of financial Clue, a way to keep sharp your skills of deduction. You don't have to be a stock investor or a math whiz to figure it out, either – you just have to have a good grasp of news and human psychology." - the Guardian on this week's crash in gold commodity prices.
posted by Slap*Happy on Apr 18, 2013 - 85 comments

Incommensurable values

Economists and the theory of politics - "why unions were often well worth any deadweight cost" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 25, 2013 - 27 comments

The Failure of Judges and the Rise of Regulators

The Control Revolution And Its Discontents - "the long process of algorithmisation over the last 150 years has also, wherever possible, replaced implicit rules/contracts and principal-agent relationships with explicit processes and rules."
posted by kliuless on Feb 23, 2012 - 25 comments

Obama nominates Alan Krueger as chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers

White House economic policy largely originates with The Council of Economic Advisers, CEA, who directly advise the President of the United States. CEA research and publish the annual Economic Report of the President[ .pdf ], which details the state of the nation's economic health. Today President Barack Obama is expected to nominate Princeton Economist Alan Krueger as chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Krueger, who previously held the post of Assistant Treasury Secretary for Economic Policy, has written on a wide range of topics, from the economics of rock music [ .pdf ], the causes of terrorism [ .pdf ] and American's changing work / life balance. But Krueger is best known as a labor economist who has extensively researched long term unemployment. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Aug 29, 2011 - 69 comments

Not what it says on the tin

"Any industry would be proud of an average annual growth rate of 34% over ten years and of a global reach from Austria to Taiwan. But the headlong expansion of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which by May this year controlled almost $1.5 trillion of assets (not far short of the $2 trillion in hedge funds), has become a matter for concern among financial regulators. Could ETFs be the next source of financial scandal, or even of systemic risk?" Characterizing the Financial sector "like a hyperactive child" that "can never leave a good thing be", The Economist appears to be wishing for the ETFs to be better regulated because "it would be a shame if reckless expansion spoiled a good innovation".
posted by vidur on Jun 26, 2011 - 28 comments

Unlocking money in pre-IPO companies

Employed by a startup? Working long hours for little pay but lots of stock options? When your company goes public you can finally realise the value of your options but what if the IPO is delayed or never happens? [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Jan 3, 2011 - 32 comments

Researchers claim Tweets predict The Dow

Invented by Charles Dow in 1896, The Dow Jones Average ("The Dow") is perhaps the most widely known metric of equity market behaviour. Calculated as a price weighted average of thirty stocks, The Dow is generally eschewed by professional investors who prefer the broader S&P 500, a so-called market capitalisation weighted index consisting of 500 stocks. Regardless, proponents of the Dow claim its simplicity, long history and careful design as a reliable proxy of US economic activity as points in its favour. But can they now claim predicability as well? [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Oct 23, 2010 - 19 comments

HOW SUPERMODELS ARE LIKE TOXIC ASSETS

There is very little intrinsic value in Coco Rocha's physique that would set her apart from any number of other similarly-built teens. 'When dealing with symbolic goods like “beauty” and “fashionability,” we would be hard pressed to identify objective measures of worth inherent in the good itself.' 'The social world of fashion markets reveals how market actors think collectively to make decisions in the face of uncertainty. And this social side of markets, it turns out, is key to understanding how investors could trade securities backed with “toxic” subprime mortgage assets leading us into the 2009 financial crisis.' 'In 2002, a tall and skinny 14-year old girl competed in a dance contest in Vancouver, Canada. There she encountered a modeling agent, who asked her to consider going out for modeling jobs. Today, the 22-year-old Coco Rocha is celebrated as a “supermodel”'. [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Jul 16, 2010 - 60 comments

Be it resolved that financial 'innovation' does not boost economic growth

Basicland vs. Sorrowland
A parable about how one nation came to financial ruin by Charles Munger. For extra colour there's... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 2, 2010 - 34 comments

The other exit strategy

With quantitative easing on everyone's minds, pundits of all sorts talk about Central Bank exit strategies. But in The Treaty of Lisbon, which came into force across the EU on December 1st, 2009, it turns out European member states have put forward an exit strategy of a completely different kind [.pdf] . [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Jan 20, 2010 - 31 comments

Used for centuries, end of lifed October 31st 2018 - The Cheque

They were first known as "Praescriptiones" and used by The Romans from around 100BC 1. Employed by Perisans of the Sassanid Dynasty during the third century, they were then known as "Saqqs". They have been found in Egyptian ruins dating from the 12th century, about the same time as The Knights Templar bolstered their use by issuing written instruments, redeemable for cash to pilgrims bound for holy land bound. Even so, it took another five centuries for the cheque to be adopted by England. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Dec 17, 2009 - 43 comments

George Soros on the Way Forward

Soros lectures
You can slog through the video, but I preferred the transcripts 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Nov 21, 2009 - 13 comments

“He who controls the money supply of a nation controls the nation”: James Garfield

The First Bank of the United States was Americas first attempt at forming a Central Bank. Inaugurated by Congress in 1791, it was followed by The Second Bank of the United States, which was dissolved in 1836.

And then The United States of America was without a Central Bank for 77 years. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Oct 3, 2009 - 54 comments

it's good to be a banksta

Simon Johnson on Bill Moyers [1] (and, prolifically, making the public media rounds on npr [2]) tackling the bailout of the American Oligarchs, a.k.a. banksters... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Feb 14, 2009 - 16 comments

All predictions are wrong. Or are they?

Every year the Strategy Team at Saxo Bank, a Danish virtual bank, publishes a list of ten black swan class market events. Some of the more dramatic possibilities Saxo advance for 2009: crude trading down to $25 a barrel causing severe social unrest in Iran, the S&P 500 falling to 500, Chinese GDP approaching zero and several member states dropping the Euro. The complete 2009 list is here and for completeness their 2008 [ .pdf ] , 2007 [ .pdf ] and 2006 lists [ .pdf ] are also available. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Jan 7, 2009 - 32 comments

Money for nothing: a new era of zero interest rates?

The Fed cut 100 bps. BOE cut 150 bps. ECB cut 50 bps. India, Vietnam, The Czech Republic, Switzerland, Denmark, South Korea and other nations have all cut interest rates in recent weeks, with many Central Banks cutting more than once. The G20 is now discussing the possibility of further, coordinated interest rate cuts. As interest rates globally plummet, we are observing what some analysts are calling "The Race to Zero". [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Nov 12, 2008 - 86 comments

The most obscure but perhaps the most important economic indicator we've got

How best to take the pulse of the global economy? While market driven rates such as LIBOR or US Government T-Bills reveal the state of fixed income and Credit Default Swaps tell the observer much about possible default rates, many analysts prefer a more basal view. The Baltic Dry Index is one such indicator. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Oct 31, 2008 - 27 comments

In praise of small banks

The nine biggest US banks aren't using $125 billion in federal bailout money to make loans. They're going to use taxpayer dollars to buy other banks. [more inside]
posted by up in the old hotel on Oct 30, 2008 - 80 comments

You don't really own the shares you think you own

All the stocks and bonds you think you own are actually owned by a company you've probably never heard of, a company owned by the same people who own the US Federal Reserve. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Oct 24, 2008 - 58 comments

Essential Credit Crunch Reading

Afraid to read the daily news? Need some broader perspective on The Credit Crunch? There are lots of different ideas by lots of different authors floating about ... [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Oct 13, 2008 - 34 comments

"...market fundamentalism for the last 25 or so years. And now that world is collapsing... "

Bill Moyers interviews George Soros on the financial crisis. Soros discusses market fundamentalism and the causes of the current crisis, as well as what can be done, and how this meltdown will change the global economy. (via The Big Picture) [more inside]
posted by [expletive deleted] on Oct 11, 2008 - 44 comments

Another potentially huge settlement day for CDS contracts ...

Credit Default Swaps (CDS) are derivative instruments providing the purchaser with protection against default on an underlying financial asset. When Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac technically defaulted on September 7th there was much speculation that the CDS market would collapse as a result of protection being invoked on $1.4 trillion dollars worth of debt. On October 6th these derivative contracts settled, and the CDS market didn't collapse with recovery rates of 92% being observed. Today CDS contracts protecting against the default of Lehman Brothers settle. The problem? Because industry lacks a central clearinghouse for these derivatives, nobody is really sure how many CDS contracts were written either by Lehman or by other banks providing protection against a Lehman default. Next on the list are CDS' covering Washington Mutual, which are due to settle October 23rd.

Meanwhile efforts to create a clearing house continue, as some folks speculate that the settlement of Credit Default Swaps is a major reason why banks are hoarding cash.
posted by Mutant on Oct 10, 2008 - 155 comments

This is not your FDIC. This is the Rich White Man's FDIC.

A private FDIC?

The Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service, or CDARS, is a way to conveniently spread bank accounts across multiple banks. CDARS, run by privately held Promontory Interfinancial Network, offers its customers up to $50 million of deposit insurance, or exactly 500 times single account limit mandated by the FDIC. Promontory does this by arranging to distribute client funds nationwide in $100K increments to over 2,300 banks. Promontory is nothing if not well connected: while founders Mark Jacobsen previously served as Chief of Staff at the FDIC, co-founders Alan Blinder was Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve and Eugene Ludwig was Comptroller of the Currency, several former members of the FDIC currently serve on Promotory's board.

Not surprisingly, some folks are openly critical of Promotory, some going so far as to state "It undermines a lot of the safeguards around the FDIC deposit fund."
posted by Mutant on Sep 26, 2008 - 64 comments

teh free markets, ur doin it wrong

LOLFed. Doan cry, emo banker! If you hate the latest financial crisis news, but love image macros, then this is the site for you. It's like I Can Has Cheezburger meets the Wall Street Journal.
posted by Asparagirl on Sep 22, 2008 - 61 comments

Saturday night poker night is about to get a lot more interesting ...

Hedge Funds employ many different strategies to make money. There are long/short funds, event driven funds, emerging markets funds [.pdf], funds looking to profit from global macroeconomic trends and a large number of funds employing a wide range of arbitrage techniques to make money.

But these techniques are the tried and the true. As both assets under management and market turmoil have grown significantly, hedge funds are rapidly branching out into domains far, far detached from finance: art, litigation funding and now even poker.
posted by Mutant on Sep 22, 2008 - 44 comments

Banking shares: New Day or False Dawn?

A bottom for banking? Buying or selling shares in a company one manages - insider trading - is legal in The United States, provided the relevant forms are filed with The SEC. This information is then made available to the general public via EDGAR, Sec Form 4, or high level aggregators. Investors scour web sites for such filings, as purchases or sales of a companies shares by insiders are public evidence of managements private opinions regarding the future prospects of the firm they are running.

Even before yesterdays relief rally insider buying in banking shares hit a two decade high. So does this surge in buying indicate the worst is over in banking? When trading its best to pay close attention to a broad range of signals, because sometimes even the insiders get it wrong.
posted by Mutant on Sep 9, 2008 - 23 comments

Those markets? Well, it seems they work like they are supposed to ...

Are funds calling a bottom to the US housing market? Even as house price declines are beginning to slow, home sales may have stablised and resales look healthy, big money - $5B here, $3B there, over there $2B and lots and lots of smaller amounts - is being deployed to take housing assets off banks balance sheets.

Meanwhile, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are actually booking the biggest profits on new mortgages since 1998. It ain't over 'til it's over, but in the markets you take what you can get.
posted by Mutant on Aug 28, 2008 - 39 comments

"A national debt will be to us a national blessing." Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of Treasury,1780

Even as I.O.U.S.A, a documentary looking at the United States' $53T national debt, is to be shown at both the Democratic and Republican conventions, economists are beginning to openly discuss the previously unthinkable - should America should default on some or perhaps all it's obligations? [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Aug 26, 2008 - 84 comments

While this is timely information bank failures are normal part of life.

Worried about bank failures? First step: check if your bank is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). If so, then your first $100K is insured against loss so no worries.

Got more than $100K? Well then, you'd better speak with EDIE. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Jul 14, 2008 - 60 comments

Sir John Templeton, 1912-2008, RIP and thank you for the investing lessons.

The simple phrase "it's different this time" are the four most expensive words in the English language. Sir John Templeton, 1912-2008, we thank you for this lesson and countless others. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Jul 9, 2008 - 67 comments

Is Ben Bernanke a finally coming out of the closet?

While the wild crowd call it "Woodstock for Central Bankers", others get festivities off on a sour note, referring to it as "Understanding Inflation and the Implications for Monetary Policy". Regardless of what your invitation to this party reads, it starts today, Monday June 9th on the 50th anniversary of The Phillips Curve, a previously discredited forecasting tool which may be revived by Ben Bernanke at The Federal Reserve. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Jun 9, 2008 - 6 comments

Islamic Banking - a compelling mix of religion and finance

While western banking institutions continue to reel from the credit crunch, Islamic banking, with assets approaching one trillion dollars, is growing at roughly 20% pa by offering Sharia compliant - and only Sharia compliant - financial products. But compliance to Sharia law in matters financial is not easy (previously). [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Jun 6, 2008 - 44 comments

They're messing with LIBOR - UhOh!

Underlying several hundred thousand Student Loans, millions of Adjustable Rate Mortgages and trillions of dollars worth of financial derivatives is the London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR. Launched in 1986 by the British Bankers' Association (BBA), LIBOR is the most widely used benchmark of short term interest rates.

And with the recent credit market difficulties still fresh in the minds and impacting the balance sheets of many market participants, the way LIBOR is calculated - and the interest rates charged - may be changing. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on May 30, 2008 - 22 comments

Dark pools of liquidity, or the secret stock market

The rapid growth of electronic trading since 1976 has benefited equity market participants by improving competition, reducing cost and increasing liquidity while insuring better pricing.

One unexpected side effect has been the recent emergence of "dark pools of liquidity", or the secret stock market. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on May 20, 2008 - 21 comments

Sell in May and go Away but buy back on St. Leger Day

Academic discussions of stock markets frequently reference The Efficient Markets Hypothesis; an idea that share prices are fairly valued, their prices reflecting all available information. However folklore such as "Sell in May and go away", which proved prudent in 2007, clashes with this theory. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on May 15, 2008 - 11 comments

Why everything new in finance has already been new at least once before

The year was 1978. The US Dollar was collapsing, inflation was beginning to surge, the American economy was on the brink of recession and many warned of the perils of easy money. Needless to say, Arthur Burns, 10th Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, had a tough job. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on May 8, 2008 - 91 comments

Food cartels - haven't we seen these before?

Oil's got one. So does cocaine. There used to be one for light bulbs and another for uranium. While we know one currently exists for diamonds, some folks think the music industry has one. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on May 5, 2008 - 21 comments

So, that Y chromosone, it's the bad trading chromosone, right?

Although Larry Summers drew fire for rather inappropriate comments illustrating differences between Men and Women, we all know they exist. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Apr 9, 2008 - 62 comments

Barings redux?

Credit Suisse will take a $2.65 billion hit to earnings and post it's first quarterly loss since 2003 due, to no small part, to deliberate mispricing of asset backed securities by several traders operating at all levels of seniority across the 143 year old institution. [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Mar 21, 2008 - 33 comments

The Next Bubble

The Next Bubble: Priming the markets for tomorrow's big crash. A layman's primer on the genesis and future of today's economic troubles, at Harper's Magazine.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken on Mar 13, 2008 - 79 comments

Look out below...!

While the US equities markets were closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Day, stock markets around the world took a nosedive, losing billions in equity; the markets in Australia, South Korea, Japan, China, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Germany, France, the UK, and more countries have dropped at least 5% each (Canada only fell 4.75%), even though most of those markets had already been seriously down for several days prior. India has been hit particularly hard, at one point down a whopping 11%, tripping their markets' automatic "circuit breakers" for a mandatory time-out period, before scraping back up to close at 8% down. US futures markets are currently predicting a 650+ point drop just at the open Tuesday morning, before even a single trade goes through. [more inside]
posted by Asparagirl on Jan 22, 2008 - 306 comments

And yes, the band did play on.

It was twenty years ago today... [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Oct 19, 2007 - 27 comments

A world of Casey Serins

What's the link between:
1) the quickly-growing number of American homeowners becoming unable to pay their mortgages after their ARM's reset (a trend nicknamed "ARMageddon" -- applicable in the UK too), which is translating into soaring foreclosure rates, and in turn forcing at least 60 US semi-shady mortgage brokers to go belly-up in the past year (i.e. the "subprime meltdown"), and...
2) the recent implosion and impending financial bailout -- which may become the biggest since the Long Term Capital Management fiasco of 1998 -- of two Bear Stearns hedge funds which dealt in mortgage securities? [more inside]
posted by Asparagirl on Jul 11, 2007 - 123 comments

The 'greater fool' theory writ large

The Motley Fool's new CAPS stock-picking system keeps track of your stock picks and whether they outperformed or underperformed the market. Then everyone's picks are aggregated, weighted by the quality of their past records, to rank individual stocks. Here's how it works. (more inside)
posted by ikkyu2 on Oct 4, 2006 - 13 comments

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