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Testimony

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by Larry Levin   Now that the Greece crisis is solved (HA!), the world has turned their attention (and HFT black boxes) to the long awaited address of the Senate Banking Committee from the Fed Chairwoman, Janet Yellen. What will she say? Almost more importantly, what is the tone of her words? These statements and subsequent Q&A are so nuanced, it borders on insanity. As related to policy: *YELLEN: `PATIENT' MEANS LIFTOFF UNLIKELY FOR COUPLE OF MEETINGS *YELLEN: GUIDANCE CHANGE TO MEAN LIFTOFF POSSIBLE AT ANY MEETING *YELLEN: FED WILL RAISE WHEN `REASONABLY CONFIDENT' ON … [Read more...]

NFP

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by Larry Levin   NFP is an acronym that some many non-traders don't understand. This jumble of letters stands for Non-Farm Payroll data; otherwise known as the monthly payroll report. Will it be a hit or a miss? We won't really know until we read the government's report this Friday morning; however, the following is a guesstimate from our friends at ZeroHedge. Yesterday, in the aftermath of the latest disappointing economic data this time from the non-mfg ISM, Goldman surprised many when it cut its January non-farm payroll estimate from an above consensus 250K to a below … [Read more...]

Closed

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by Larry Levin   On Wednesday the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) made an announcement that may surprise many who are not in the trading business; however, for those of us that are here every day, it is no surprise: the CME will close nearly all of its trading floors/pits. From 1848 to 1992, all trading was done by humans in an open-outcry fashion. But as computer speed followed Moore's Law, which is the observation that over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years, humans became less … [Read more...]

What’s Wrong With QE?

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by Larry Levin We have every sovereign nation that can muster enough credibility to devalue its currency on a very direct path to do so. I call it “rolling QE”. Much like the adage: “The Sun Never Sets On the English Empire” now it’s “The Sun Never Sets On QE”. Japan, Eurozone, US…. lather, rinse, repeat. This has been a very ingenious (I am being kind) period in Central Banking. Never before have we seen more forces at work trying to game the system out of it’s own house of cards. Then why is nothing working? The whole point of QE is to stimulate the economy and … [Read more...]

A Super Sized Squeeze

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by Larry Levin   The good old-fashioned short squeeze. This most often happens in the stock or futures markets when a rapid increase in the price of a stock or future that occurs when there is a lack of supply and an excess of demand for the stock. Let’s take a look what some at how some derivative-base ticket brokers have tried to game the system over the last few years with our beloved Super Bowl. As the CEO of TiqIQ, Andrew Tulloch, tells us (via The Daily Beast): “Two days after the conference championship game, the cheapest ticket for Super Bowl XLIX was going for … [Read more...]

A Letter To Germany

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by Larry Levin     I know that this may sound a little odd, but I read a great article about the Greek loans from the ECB and the angst it's causing - penned by the new Greek Prime Minister. Of course if one is honest, these are loans from Germany (the only strong country in the EU) to Greece, thus the direct nature of the following letter that was read here: http://syriza.net.gr/index.php/en/pressroom/253-open-letter-to-the-german-readers-that-which-you-were-never-told-about-greece Most of you, dear Handesblatt readers, will have formed a preconception of what this … [Read more...]

Greece

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by Larry Levin   Greece is back in the news again. If you recall, a few years ago whenever there was political controversy in Greece the markets reacted with a severe “sell it at the market” rash. The market was fearful that a new group of politicians would force the country to leave the Euro, thus causing cascading and catastrophic losses for banks across the world, but especially in Germany. When enough politicians were bribed, however, the talk of leaving the Euro vanished. This time may be different. The leader of the newly elected Syriza party wants a major reduction in … [Read more...]

Euro Bazooka

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by Larry Levin     The European Central Bank has gone all in: The Euro area will get nearly unlimited QE. The money-printing baton has been passed from the US and Japanese, to Mario Draghi. In order to debase its currency, drive inflation higher and thereby destroy purchasing power, Draghi fired a financial bazooka today. Full details from the ECB: ECB announces expanded asset purchase programme •ECB expands purchases to include bonds issued by euro area central governments, agencies and European institutions •Combined monthly asset purchases to amount to … [Read more...]

Ghost

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by Larry Levin     Fear. It is a great motivator and mode of distraction. More importantly, it’s a very powerful tool. Often times a ruling body (i.e. governments) will exploit this human reaction as an opportunity. Look at how many liberties we gave up with the “Patriot Act” and how many years we spent in Afghanistan and Iraq based on the fear that a bunch of guys hiding in a cave were out to get us. Today we are presented with this from Zero Hedge: “Abdullah Rashid al-Baghdadi, the titular head of the Islamic State, according to Brigadier General Kevin Bergner - … [Read more...]

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by Larry Levin     I normally love it when billionaires fight billionaires. Watching egos get in the way of common sense is oddly satisfying. But in this case, my enjoyment is rooted elsewhere. I am talking about the fight between Bill Ackman and Carl Ichan with regards to Herbalife (HLF). What makes this clash of titans different is that one side has actually taken the moral high ground and is trying to do what is right. Bill Ackman has made this his personal cause to expose HLF for what it really is in that it is a pyramid scheme that preys on the poor and/or non-English … [Read more...]