NATO Ceases Cooperation With Russia Amid Threats to Ukraine

Tensions are high along
Ukraine’s eastern border as Russian troop movements hint at further
military action. NATO, of which the U.S. is the largest
supplier
of both military personnel and funding, is now warning
that Russia could stage an attack on Ukraine within three days. The
alliance has responded to the perceived threat by suspending
cooperation with Russia.

Reuters’ Adrian Croft
reports
:

Calling the situation “incredibly concerning”, NATO’s supreme
allied commander in Europe, U.S. Air Force General Philip
Breedlove, said NATO had spotted signs of movement by a very small
part of the Russian force overnight but had no indication that this
was part of a withdrawal to barracks.

[…]

The Russian force has aircraft and helicopter support as well as
field hospitals and electronic warfare capabilities—”the entire
suite that would be required to successfully have an incursion into
Ukraine, should the decision be made,” Breedlove said.

“We think it is ready to go and we think it could accomplish its
objectives in between three and five days if directed to make the
actions.”

Estimates on the number of troops have been shaky. Ukrainian
officials last week
suggested
there could be as many as 100,000 gearing up for an
invasion. A different Reuters article
noted
earlier this week that the number appeared to be
dropping, but explained that because “conscripts made up a large
part of the Russian army … ‘a certain number of conscripts could be
stood down and swapped for others.'” Current estimates put it at
40,000.

Because of Russia’s persistent aggression, NATO Secretary
General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
announced
yesterday:

We are suspending all practical cooperation with Russia,
military and civilian. In the NATO-Russia Council, the
Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, and the Partnership for Peace.
At the same time we keep our diplomatic lines of communication
open, and we are ready for ambassadorial or ministerial meetings in
the NATO-Russia Council.

What will this cessation of cooperation look like? Although the
organization hasn’t divulged a specific plan, “the measures could
include sending NATO soldiers and equipment to Eastern European
allies, holding more exercises, ensuring NATO’s rapid-reaction
force could deploy more quickly, and reviewing NATO’s military
plans,”
explains
Croft in another article.

For more Reason coverage of Ukraine, Crimea, and
Russia, click here.

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Presenting The Next Market Rigged By High Frequency Trading

Almost a month ago, we wrote “This Is The One Financial Product Now Targeted By The HFT Swarm“, in which after briefly perusing the Virtu S-1 filing, we concluded that “one product stood out. It is highlighted on the chart below: FX.”

We added:

Sadly, with increasingly more homo sapiens-type banker FX traders being laid off left and right for pervasive and ubiquitous manipulation of currencies (who can forget the infamous “Cartel” chat room, JPM’s head of spot trading presiding), what this means is that more and more algos will rush into this product to fill the voids left by carbon-based traders.

 

And for those trading FX, our condolences: because the typical bizarro, idiot moves that previously were reserved for stocks are now sure to take over the final bastion of capital markets. In other words, the next time you feel like the USDJPY is trading as if it is in need of a software update, you will be right.

 

Then again, in a world in which FX is the one battleground where central bankers now joust every minute, we can’t wait for the reaction when some fat finger algo decides to take USDJPY higher by 1000 pips, or crashes the EURUSD by 2000, “just because.” Surely the look of sheer panic on the faces of “central planners” everywhere in that particular “Jerome Kerviel Kodak moment” would be even more priceless than the stock of VRTU upon IPO. Speaking of, we wonder: will VRTU algos ramp VRTU stock to infinity, or is there some conflict of interest here?

We are happy to report that this time the mainstream media is following our reports much more closely then five years ago, because overnight none other than Bloomberg came out with “High-Frequency Traders Chase Currencies as Stock Volume Recedes” in which we read, guess what, “Forget the equity market. For high-frequency traders, the place to be is foreign exchange. Firms using the ultra-fast strategies getting scrutiny thanks to Michael Lewis’s book “Flash Boys” account for more than 35 percent of spot currency volume in October 2013, up from 9 percent in October 2008, according to consultant Aite Group LLC. It’s the opposite of equities, where their proportion shrank to 50 percent in 2012 from 66 percent four years ago, according to Rosenblatt Securities Inc.”

But our readers already knew this. Let’s see what else our readers knew:

“The use of HFT will make trading and regulation in the FX market more complex, and there would also be some questions over the fairness,” Anshuman Jaswal, senior analyst at research firm Celent in Boston, said by e-mail. “Use of HFT also increases liquidity and depth in markets. Both sides of the argument carry some weight, and there is no one right answer.”

 

The debate surrounding high-frequency trading, a term describing strategies that use lightning-fast computers to eke out profits in securities markets, blew up this week after Lewis published “Flash Boys” and said U.S. equities are rigged. The book makes few references to currency, saying instability HFT creates is bound to spread from equities sooner or later.

 

High-frequency strategies flourished in American equities as rising computer power and two decades of regulation broke the grip of the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Stock Market and trading spread to more than 50 public and private venues. Now, speed traders are proliferating in foreign exchange.

 

“Any of the big names that are involved in the equity side are generally starting up FX businesses as well,” Brad Bechtel, managing director at Faros Trading LLC in Stamford, Connecticut, said of high-frequency trading in a phone interview.

 

 

While speedier strategies are becoming “really prevalent” in foreign exchange and some are predatory, many are “rather benign and provide liquidity to the market,” said Aaron Smith, managing director and co-founder at Pecora Capital LLC.

 

“We see plenty of strategies that depend on low latency and co-location in London or New York,” Smith said in a phone interview from Zurich. Some of the company’s portfolio, which includes currencies, is traded with systematic methods, with holding periods of a few hours to a few days, he said. Still, there are other issues to consider.

Yup, we knew all that too. We also know that not everyone is delighted about the incursion of HFT in FX:

“We don’t want to be in the high-frequency space because
then you’re in a technological foot race against the next guy,” Smith
said. “When they have a bigger, faster, stronger computer, you’re out of
business. We’re not interested.”

Too bad, because what else do we know about the FX space? Well, courtesy of ongoing daily revelations, and a financial space in which all carbon-based FX traders and strategists at major banks are dropping like flies either being fired, under civil and/or criminal investigation, or relocated to other easier to manipulate markets like commodities, FX is and was arguably more rigged than even Libor.

So what is the take home? It turns out that as manipulating humans leave FX in droves, they are replaced by, drumroll, manipulating algos. However, just like in equities where the HFT parasites merely facilitated the Fed in its relentless pursuit to send asset prices to new unseen bubble levels, for the most part HFTs also help central banks in ramping FX pairs in whatever the required FX manipulation by the G-7 central planners du jour may be. In other words, the regulators will turn a blind eye to all the FX rigging now conducted almost exclusively by algos as longas it goes in their favor.

However, once the market crashes and/or FX begins trading abnormally broken, watch as the full wrath of the same economists and corrupt regulators turns on HFT, which will be scapegoated as the biggest market villain in history. None other than Goldman has already set the stage for the public lynching of the vacuum tubes.

But for now, as long as the dancing continues, we must all “trade” in a world in which the now standard US and Japan market open results in a spike in the USDJPY, in which any good or bad news results in a spike in the USDJPY, and when every downturn in stocks is promptly offset with, you guessed it, another HFT momentum-ignition surge in the USDJPY, promptly offsetting the asset weakness.

And when Michael Lewis releases “FX Boys” in 3 years, followed by “Liberty 33 Boys” in another 3, everyone will be shocked by just how rigged everything was, and how nobody had any idea there was (taxpayer backed) gambling going on here…


    



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Individual Rights vs. Collective Speech in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission

The battle over campaign finance regulation features a clash of
visions. One side holds that such restrictions clearly violate the
First Amendment by limiting the right to speak freely about
politics. The other holds that the restrictions are necessary to
level the playing field and promote democracy. These competing
views were both well represented today in the Supreme
Courts ruling on aggregate spending limits in
McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission
.

Writing in dissent, for example, Justice Stephen Breyer faulted
Chief Justice John Roberts for undercutting democracy by focusing
too much on the individual liberty secured by the First Amendment
and not enough on the collective good secured by a vigorous system
of campaign finance regulations. “The First Amendment advances not
only the individual’s right to engage in political speech,” Breyer
argued, “but also the public’s interest in preserving a democratic
order in which collective speech matters.”

In his opinion for the Court, Roberts responded directly to this
critique.”The degree to which speech is protected cannot turn on a
legislative or judicial determination that particular speech is
useful to the democratic process,” he argued. Moreover, “the
dissent’s ‘collective speech’ reflected in laws is of course the
will of the majority, and plainly can include laws that restrict
free speech. The whole point of the First Amendment is to afford
individuals protection against such infringements.” Besides,
Roberts stressed, “the First Amendment does not protect the
government, even when the government purports to act through
legislation reflecting ‘collective speech.'”

For more on McCutcheon v. F.E.C., see
here
and here.

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John Stossel on Gambling Regulations

Did
you fill out a March Madness bracket this year? In many states, if
you put money in a pool, it’s illegal. Politicians can’t quite make
up their minds about gambling: They approve certain casinos and
promote state lotteries but crack down on sports bets and charity
poker games. It seems that government dislikes gambling unless
government gets to be the house, John Stossel writes. 

After locking up bookies for “dangerous and criminal”
activities, most states now offer much worse odds in state
lotteries. Then they take money from taxpayers to advertise their
scams while simultaneously warning us of gambling’s dangers. As
with so many other activities, writes Stossel, the government says
it knows best about gambling and then makes matters much
worse. 

View this article.

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Faber – “How Could You NOT Own Gold?”

Today’s AM fix was USD 1,284.00, EUR 930.91 and GBP 771.26 per ounce.                      

Yesterday’s AM fix was USD 1,286.50, EUR 932.45 and GBP 772.67 per ounce.


Gold fell $2.80 or 0.22% yesterday to $1,280.50/oz. Silver rose $0.02 or 0.1% yesterday to $19.81/oz.

Webinar: Dr Marc Faber On Gold, Silver and Asset Allocation In An Uncertain World

This Friday, April 4th at 0900 BST, Dr Marc Faber will give insights into his strategies for protecting and growing wealth in 2014 and beyond. Register today and don’t miss this opportunity to hear one of the world’s most respected investment experts.


Dr Marc Faber and Jim Rickards at the World War D Conference in Melbourne

Gold climbed in London, its first rise in 3 days. It is believed that the seven week low will lead to renewed physical buying in China. Gold bullion of 99.99% purity for delivery in Shanghai traded at a premium to the London price earlier today, Bloomberg data showed. China was last year’s largest gold buyer and is already on course to surpass last years record demand.

Gold fell 3.2% in March due in large part to speculation that the Fed may reduce their massive monetary stimulus and return to more orthodox monetary policies. However, gold was  6.8% higher in the first quarter as many investors viewed the 28% sell off in 2013 as a buying opportunity.


Gold in U.S. Dollars – January 2011 To April 2014 (Thomson Reuters)

Geopolitical risk and the Ukraine crisis led to safe haven demand and may be leading to renewed central bank diversification into gold including from Russia itself.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in March that the central bank may end its bond-buying program this fall and increase borrowing costs six months after that. Yellen then changed her tune this week saying that the “considerable slack” in labor markets showed that accommodative policies will be needed for “some time.”


Faber: Gold “Is A Present From God And I Wish It Would Go Lower So I Could Buy More”
After a long first day of presentations at the
World War D conference in Melbourne, the international keynote speakers, Marc Faber, Jim Rickards, Richard Duncan and John Robb got up on the stage to answer questions on topics ranging from Bitcoin, to China’s economy to gold.

Faber said his concern about Bitcoin was how reliant it is on the internet and electricity networks functioning properly, something that can’t be taken for granted in the age of digital warfare.

Technology risk is something we have warned of for sometime. It shows the importance of not having all your savings and wealth in digital currencies in banks, in digital currencies like bitcoin and emerging crypto currencies or indeed in digital gold formats whereby you are very dependent on and exposed to websites, servers and technology in general.

World War D: Money, War and Survival in the Digital Age heard from Faber that gold, unlike digital assets, is a physical asset and that it had performed superbly until September 2011.

Faber said that gold has been in a correction since then, which isn’t unusual in a money printing environment. On gold at today’s prices, Faber said that “the fact is that gold down is a present from God and I wish it would go lower so I could buy more,” he said.

The big proviso Faber added was that he had to physically own coins and bars. He also warned that people would be ‘mad’ to own any asset, including gold, in the U.S. Previously, Faber has said that he favors owning gold in
fully allocated gold accounts in Singapore and Switzerland.

Jim Rickards said that gold should remain an essential part of diversified portfolios and Mark Faber pointed out that the question should be “how could you NOT own gold?”

The question echoes observations Faber made in January 2013, when he told a well known CNBC presenter that she was “in great danger because you don’t own any gold.” Before wittily reassuring her that she had “a golden personality.”

Webinar: Dr Marc Faber On Gold, Silver and Asset Allocation In An Uncertain World

This Friday only, April 4th, Dr Marc Faber will give insights into his strategies for protecting and growing wealth in 2014 and beyond. Register today and don’t miss this opportunity to hear one of the world’s most respected investment experts.

In this webinar, some of the topics covered with Dr Faber include:


Asian Century?
Western stagnation or collapse?
Implications of events in Ukraine
Allocations to precious metals?
How to own precious metals?
Dollar cost average or lump sum?
Take profits/ rebalance or buy and hold for long term?
When to sell?
Favoured asset allocation?
Other investment and business opportunities?

Dr Faber’s webinar takes place this Friday, April 4th, 2014, at 0900 BST (0900 British Standard Time or London and UK time). Register to attend the event or to receive a recording of the webinar.


 


    



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The Fed Goes Hunting For “Asset Price Bubbles”

As the world’s investors wait anxiously for the next piece of bad news from Japan, China, Europe, or US as a signal to buy, buy, buy on the back of a renewed “stimulus” of freshly printed money that has comforted them for 5 years, it seems the Fed is turning its attention elsewhere:

  • BULLARD SAYS MONITORING FOR ASSET BUBBLES `IMPORTANT CONCERN’
  • BULLARD SAYS ASSET PRICE BUBBLES MAY BECOME `BIG CONCERN’

The embarrasment continues:

  • BULLARD DOESN’T SEE PRICE BUBBLE LIKE IN PRE-CRISIS HOUSING

Because the Fed was accurate in spotting the “pre-crisis housing” bubble, right?

And the punchline:

  • BULLARD SAYS FED HAS BETTER `SYSTEMS’ FOR `FLAGGING’ BUBBLES

For now though, of course, the Fed’s Bubble-o-Flagger (which can also be yours for four easy payments of $29.95) has no batteries. Pointing out the irony that the Fed creates the bubbles… and then when it becomes a “big concern” it promises to do something about it if it every sees one.  Finally, we are delighted that the schizhophrenia of the central planners continues to be exhibited for all to see: first Yellen tells everyone to buy stocks on Tuesday with an uber-dovish retracement of her “6 month” flub, and now Bullard is saying to watch out for bubbles. What can one say but… economists.

As a gentle reminder of just how these bubbles are formed

Bubble Formation: start at the bottom left…

Bubble Bursting: …and end with a ‘debt crisis’ and a ‘rush for the exits’

Rinse and Repeat – Simple. QED


    



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New York Times Exaggerates the Number of Americans Newly Covered by Obamacare Subsidies and Medicaid Expansion

In a  story about House Budget
Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s latest 10-year spending
plan, New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman

says
the Wisconsin Republican proposes “total repeal of the
Affordable Care Act just as millions are reaping the benefits of
the law,” a juxtaposition that sounds like a Democratic talking
point. Later Weisman claims “more than 10 million Americans have
gotten health insurance through the law, either through private
policies purchased on insurance exchanges, through expanded
Medicaid or private policies purchased through brokers but
subsidized by the law.”

That estimate apparently includes the 7 miillion or so people
who have picked out plans on the federal or state exchanges, not
all of whom actually have “gotten health insurance,” which requires
paying the first premium. At this point we do not know how many of
the 7 million have taken that step. Furthermore, we do not know how
many are newly covered and how many were previously insured but
switched to the exchanges, perhaps because their old policies were
canceled as a result of Obamacare’s minimum coverage requirements.
Hence it is quite misleading to say that all 7 million “have gotten
health insurance through the law,” which implies that they would
have been uninsured but for the law.

Weisman would have been aware of these two issues if he kept
abreast of my colleague Peter Suderman’s insightful Obamacare coverage—or if
he had read the work of his own colleagues. In a story on the front
page of today’s Times, Michael Shear and Robert Pear

note
:

Several of the most ardent critics of the health care law
expressed doubt about the official tally of sign-ups, noting that
the White House had not released information about how many people
who signed up had paid their initial premiums.

The critics also noted that an unknown number of people who
signed up at HealthCare.gov had previously been insured under plans
that were canceled. White House officials said they did not yet
have a tally of that category.

How big a difference might these two factors make? Pretty big.
In a recent Forbes post, Avik Roy
cites
surveys by McKinsey and the RAND Corporation indicating
that between one-quarter and one-third of exchange enrollees were
previously uninsured. According to the McKinsey survey, only 53
percent of previously uninsured enrollees had paid their first
premiums. Taken together, these findings suggest that the number of
previously uninsured people who have obtained coverage through the
exchanges may be closer to 1 million than 7 million. 

Weisman says he is also counting people who obtained coverage
“through expanded Medicaid.” According to a
recent tally
by Los Angeles Times health care
reporter Noam Levey, the RAND survey (which has not been published
yet) indicates that “at least 4.5 million previously uninsured
adults have signed up for state Medicaid programs.” Even if all of
those people were previously ineligible, we are still more than 4
million shy of Weisman’s “more than 10 million” claim.

What about people newly covered by “private policies purchased
through brokers but subsidized by the law”? According to RAND’s
survey, Levey reports, “about 9 million people have bought
health plans directly from insurers,” but “the vast majority of
these people were previously insured.” Levey also notes that,
according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, “an additional 3 million young adults have gained
coverage in recent years through a provision of the law that
enables dependent children to remain on their parents’ health plans
until they turn 26.” But Weisman’s description of his estimate does
not include those people.

Eric Boehlert of Media Matters for America does
include
the 3 million adults newly covered by their parents’
plans but, like Weisman, erroneously counts all 7 million exchange
enrollees. Put those two numbers together, Boehlert says, and you
can see that “more than 10 million people have used Obamacare to
secure health coverage.” Well, not quite. CBS News plays it safer,

saying
“it’s possible that more than 10 million people have
insurance thanks to Obamacare,” counting the changes to Medicaid
and family plans as well as insurance bought through exchanges.
Levey says “at least 9.5 million previously uninsured people have
gained coverage.”

One point none of these estimates seem to consider is that some
previously uninsured people would have obtained coverage even
without Obamacare. We do not know, for example, how many
25-year-olds would have bought their own health insurance or
obtained it through work had they not been covered by their
parents’ plans. Even some of the people newly eligible for Medicaid
might have found jobs with health benefits and therefore obtained
medical coverage anyway. If we want to measure Obamacare’s impact
on the number of uninsured people, we need to have some idea of
what would have happened in the absence of the law.

The most striking thing about these numbers is that the
exchanges, which were supposed to be the centerpiece of Obamacare,
so far have resulted in new coverage for fewer people than either
the Medicaid expansion or the mandate that family policies cover
children up to age 26. At this point the exchanges look like a
needlessly elaborate and inefficient way of providing medical
coverage to previously uninsured Americans.

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TX Cops Lobby to Ban Man from Exposing Speed Traps (Nanny of the Month, 3-14)

“TX Cops Lobby to Ban Man from Exposing Speed Traps (Nanny of
the Month, 3-14)” is the latest video from ReasonTV. Watch
above or click on the link below for video, full text, supporting
links, downloadable versions, and more Reason TV clips.

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Kim Kardashian Gets Involved in Syria’s Social Media War

On March 30, Kim Kardashian tweeted the following:

The celebrity, who is of Armenian descent, was drawing attention
to the predominantly ethnically Armenian-populated town of
Kassab
in northern Syria, which was captured by rebels,
including Al Qaeda-linked
Jabhat al-Nusra
, late last month.

Kardashian was only one of the Twitter users
using the #SaveKessab
hashtag to highlight atrocities such as mass killings and the
desecrations of churches carried out in the town by rebels.

However, Kardashian and many others on Twitter who thought they
were drawing attention to a recent horror committed by some of
Assad’s opposition were in fact probably perpetuating a myth that
may have been started by supporters of Assad.

From the
Associated Press
:

Kassab’s residents fled after rebels seized their village on
March 23, as part of a rebel offensive in the coastal Syrian
province of Latakia, Assad’s ancestral heartland.

There are no credible reports that rebels killed any residents,
or that they inflicted major damage on churches.


The Daily Beast
explains that one of the images of a
supposed victim of violence in Kassab is from a horror film;
another shows the body of a decapitated girl who was killed in
2012, not recently.

There have been atrocities carried out by some of Assad’s
opposition in the Latakia province before. In October Human Rights
Watch released
a report
on the killings of civilians in Latakia.

Kardashian’s tweet is one of the most prominent examples of how
social media is being used in Syria’s civil war. Whether it be
Assad’s Instagram
account
 or the jihadist opposition group the Islamic
State of Iraq and Syria
live-tweeting an amputation
, social media is being used by
different actors in the conflict to disseminate propaganda.

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Double Whammy Shocker From Goldman Which Is Also Waving Goodbye To The NYSE

Long-time readers may recall that in the early days of this website, in addition to HFT, one of our market structure pet peeves was the fact that Goldman Sachs was a Designated Market Maker on the NYSE, reaping various benefits primarily as a result of the firm’s role as of one of the only Supplementary Liquidity Providers at the stock exchange – a form of slower HFT “liquidity provider” if you will. Over time, as HFT became all encompassing and as increasingly more trade took place in the HFT domain, Goldman’s DMM role became less prominent especially with the arrival of such program traders as Latour Trading.

Why do we bring this up?

Because in what is a true double whammy of market structure stunners from Goldman over the past week, not only has the firm done an about face on HFT (we eagerly await Goldman’s pardon of “HFT market manipulator” and former Goldman employee Sergey Aleynikov) and is now actively bashing the high freaks (much to the chagrin of Virtu and its pulled IPO, whose lead underwriter Goldman just happened to be), overnight it was reported that Goldman is also in the process of selling its “designated market-maker” unit to Dutch firm IMC Financial Markets to sell the trading business.

Keep in mind that Goldman bought its presence on the NYSE as part of its 2000 acquisition of Spear Leeds & Kellogg, which it bought for $6.5 billion at the time. Incidentally, we had a few things to say about Goldman’s improprieties in this regard too. Recall from our July 2009 article, “Is Goldman Legally Frontrunning Its Clients?”:

Everyone who is anyone on Wall Street has at some point used the Goldman 360 portal whether for research, news, keeping a track of prime brokerage portfolio or, disturbingly, for trading, via the REDI Plus 9.0 platform (now loaded with enhanced algo trading features to make life for you, dear soon to be frontran Goldman client, so much easier). A second widely accepted Wall Street concept is that a disclaimer is the last thing that anyone reads, if ever. Yet after taking a close look at the Goldman disclaimer for the 360 portal, which is an umbrella waiver or all downstream websites, including REDI, one discovers the following gem:

 

Monitoring by GS: Your use of the products and services on this Web site may be monitored by GS, and that the resultant information may be used by GS for its internal business purposes or in accordance with the rules of any applicable
regulatory or self-regulatory organization.

 

One second: by using Goldman 360 a client voluntarily allows Goldman to provide keystroke by keystroke data of everything the client does, even if that includes launching trades via REDI, to Goldman for the internal business purposes. The third thing everyone on Wall Street agrees on is that “internal business purposes” usually (and in Goldman’s case, almost exclusively) means proprietary trading.

 

Are Goldman 360 clients (in)voluntarily signing off a release to be front ran by Goldman on any portal-based trade? Could Goldman please clarify just what “internal business purposes” means in the context of this overarching disclaimer, and also whether Goldman has ever actually used 360 submitted information in the decision making process of its prop trading desk? Lucas Van Pragg: the floor is yours.

And here are some additional Goldman Sachs and Spear, Leeds and Kellogg form documents that contain an even more crypitc warning in section 4(f) in Use Of Services:

 

You acknowledge that we may monitor your use of the Services for our own purposes (and not for your benefit). We may use the resulting information for internal business purposes or in accordance with the rules of any applicable regulatory or self-regulatory body and in compliance with applicable law and regulation.

 

NOT FOR YOUR BENEFIT? I mean, come on, how more clearer does it need to get.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand and Goldman’s disposition of NYSE assets: according to the NYT, Goldman is seeking a paltry $30 million for the DMM post. In other words, a total loss on $6.5 billion in old school assets courtesy of HFT.

Not unexpected.

However, what is unexpected, is the complete transformation Goldman has undergone in in the past several weeks: first Goldman, the bank that everyone else on Wall Street always imitates, waving goodbye to HFT, and now departing the NYSE? 

When the world’s most intelligent FDIC-backed hedge fund, pardon, bank says the current market structure is no longer necessary to Goldman, people notice, and promptly imitate.

To be sure – if this is not indicative of a major storm coming for traditional “lit” market structure (as opposed to dark pools of which IEX, until recently, was one and where Goldman has nearly complete dominance with Sigma X), we don’t know what is.

Once again: if we were HFT vacuum tubes, we would be sweating nanobullets right about now.


    



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