“The most unsettling aspect of all of this is that the dark pool framework relies on the theory that global investment banks can be trusted to run unregulated stock exchanges, swapping millions of shares of each other’s stocks with no oversight and no transparency. But there is zero basis for that trust.” P Martens & R Martens
As Wall Street On Parade reported last week, Jeffrey Kleintop, Chief Market Strategist for LPL Financial, reports that corporations are now the single largest buying source for U.S. stocks – authorizing buybacks of their own stocks to the tune of $754.8 billion in 2013 alone.
And it’s a long-term trend. According to Birinyi Associates, for calendar years 2006 through 2013, corporations authorized $4.14 trillion in buybacks of their own publicly traded stock in the U.S. — raising the question, just what kind of a bull market is this?
JPMorgan Chase, the largest U.S. bank by assets, has turned share buybacks into an art form, buying back a whopping $17,945,000,000 of shares from 2010 through 2013. In just the calendar year of 2011, JPMorgan spent a stunning $8,827,000,000 on stock buybacks. Continue reading
“Historically, since 1971, the average has been 0.70—the stock market has been worth seven-tenths of the economy. Today, it is worth 115% of the economy. According to this measure, the stock market is overvalued by 64.28%.” M Lombardi
Investors poured $4.3 billion into the SPDR S&P 500 (NYSE/SPY) last week, an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that tracks the S&P 500. For the week, ETFs tracking U.S. equities witnessed the most inflows in the last four weeks. (Source: Reuters, July 17, 2014.)
And as investors continue to inject vast sums of money into the stocks, stock valuations are at historical extremes. When I want to see how expensive the stock market is getting, I look at the S&P 500 Shiller P/E multiple (the value of stocks compared to what they earn adjusted for inflation)…and it’s screaming overvalued.
In July, the S&P 500 Shiller P/E stood at 25.96. That means that for every $1.00 a company makes, investors are willing to pay $25.96. The stock market has reached this P/E valuation (25.96) only seven percent of the time since 1881.
The number suggests the stock market is overvalued by 57%, according to its historical average of 16.55. (Source: Yale University web site, last accessed July 18, 2014.) The last time the S&P 500 Shiller P/E was above the current level was in October of 2007—just before one of the worst market sell-offs in history.
But this isn’t the only indicator suggesting the stock market is overvalued. Continue reading
The latest on the bombed #MH17 airliner, the world’s move towards war & find out what’s inside the summer edition of the Trends Journal. www.TrendsJournal.com
“Friends and colleagues say Julian Knott was a kind and thoughtful individual. The idea that he would orphan his three teenage children, leaving them with the memory of the brutal murder of their mother at the hands of a father they loved and trusted, is causing shock and disbelief among relatives and friends in the U.K.” R & P Martens
Julian and Alita Knott: From Alita Knott’s Public Facebook Page
Since December of last year, JPMorgan Chase has been experiencing tragic, sudden deaths of workers on a scale which sets it alarmingly apart from other Wall Street mega banks. Adding to the concern generated by the deaths is the recent revelation that JPMorgan has an estimated $180 billion of life insurance in force on its current and former workers.
Making worldwide news last week was the violent deaths of JPMorgan technology executive Julian Knott and his wife, Alita, ages 45 and 47, respectively, in Jefferson Township, New Jersey. However, two other recent, sudden deaths of technology workers at JPMorgan have gone unreported by the media.
The bodies of the Knott couple, who have a teenage daughter and two teenage sons, were discovered by police on July 6, 2014 at approximately 1:12 a.m. According to a press release issued by the Morris County Prosecutor’s office, Jefferson Township Police Officers Tim Hecht and Dave Wroblewski responded to the Knott home located in the Lake Hopatcong section following a “report of two unconscious adults.”
Who made the call to police and whether the children were home at the time has not been announced by the police or the prosecutor’s office. After a preliminary investigation, the police announced on July 8 that they believe Julian Knott shot his wife repeatedly and then took his own life with the same gun.
Friends and colleagues say Julian Knott was a kind and thoughtful individual. The idea that he would orphan his three teenage children, leaving them with the memory of the brutal murder of their mother at the hands of a father they loved and trusted, is causing shock and disbelief among relatives and friends in the U.K. Continue reading
“Czepiel’s name previously turned up in a 2008 lawsuit filed against Goldman Sachs by claimants who were defrauded by Samuel Israel’s $450 million Ponzi scheme known as the Bayou hedge fund. The same Goldman Sachs division involved in the Bayou matter is involved in this latest FINRA matter: Goldman Sachs Execution & Clearing.” P Martens
There’s no question that there’s a lot of sharks swimming about those dark pools being run by the mega Wall Street investment banks which are operating as privatized, unregulated stock exchanges operating in the dark. Any hopes that Wall Street’s captured regulators are going to harpoon those sharks anytime soon were dashed on July 1 when the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced a bizarre settlement with Goldman Sachs over misconduct by its dark pool, Sigma-X. The settlement popped up out of the blue three years after the alleged trading violations were documented by FINRA and the settlement was so devoid of facts as to create its own dark curtain around an already opaque arena.
As is typical, FINRA made the sweeping claim in its press release that “In today’s highly automated trading environment, FINRA has no tolerance for firms that fail to have robust policies and procedures to protect against trading through protected quotations.”
Based on the few details we could extract from the settlement document, FINRA has an enormous tolerance for dark pools that deny their customers a fair execution on their trade. Continue reading
“As I said in the beginning, this is one of the worst ideas of all-time. Two of the most powerful, out of control and corrupt segments of American society, Wall Street and the intelligence community, want to formally merge in order to better protect their power structure in a “public-private partnership.”” M Krieger
What could go wrong when banks marry the NSA?
Want to hear the worst idea in the history of horrible ideas? How about we take the industry responsible for destroying the U.S. economy and wrecking the lives of tens of millions of people, and then allow it to create a “government-industry cyber war council.”
It appears that trillions in taxpayer bailouts simply wasn’t enough for Wall Street. Noting that it can seemingly get whatever it wants whenever it wants, the industry is now positioning itself to overly control U.S. “cyber” policy. What could go wrong?
The man behind the push appears to be ex-NSA chief Keith Alexander who, as I reported on last month, is now: Pimping Advice to Wall Street Banks for $1 Million a Month. As I mentioned in that post, one of Mr. Alexander’s most high-profile clients is Wall Street’s largest lobbying group the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA). Unsurprisingly, SIFMA is behind the latest push to formally merge Wall Street with the government intelligence apparatus. Mr. Alexander isn’t wasting any time.
Bloomberg reports that:
“Wall Street’s biggest trade group has proposed a government-industry cyber war council to stave off terrorist attacks that could trigger financial panic by temporarily wiping out account balances, according to an internal document.
“It’s been four years since the Flash Crash on Wall Street sent stocks into a 900-point bungee jump, wiped out over $200 million of investors’ money by improperly triggering stop-loss orders, and shredded public confidence in stock markets. And still, to this day, the Securities and Exchange Commission does not have a Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT) to properly police who is placing orders, at what time, at what speed, in what securities and in which trading venue.” P & R Martens
Serious observers of Wall Street are increasingly asking this question: could a group of trading venues with giant pools of capital, operating in the dark, using high-speed algorithms and artificial intelligence that has a massive historical database and gets smarter with each micro-second trade — effectively own the stock market. Today, we take a look at the massive trading control exercised by just five Wall Street firms.
JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup jointly control trillions of dollars in commercial bank deposits with thousands of branch bank buildings stretching across the United States scooping up the life savings of everyday Joes who have no clue these are also the Masters of the Universe on Wall Street.
Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley also own FDIC insured banks. Goldman Sachs Bank USA, as of March 31, 2014, has $104.7 billion in assets; Morgan Stanley Bank, N.A., as of the same date, has $108.8 billion in assets.
These institutions have access to the Fed’s discount window, super cheap access to capital from FDIC insured deposits and a massive subsidy of their institutions under the too-big-to-fail doctrine. And, they also own outright or jointly a large swath of anything and everything that passes as a trading venue on Wall Street today.
The dark pool known as BIDS Trading, L.P. says it “was designed to bring counterparties together to anonymously trade large blocks of shares.” According to its web site, it is owned by: JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley – along with other financial firms. Continue reading
“. . . this corporate media sees no alarm bells, no warning sirens from the fact that Citigroup and other Wall Street trading houses that control the vast majority of banking deposits in the United States are trading the shares of their own bank stocks in their own in-house, unregulated, dark pool trading venues.” P Martens
On June 2 of this year, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a self-regulator of Wall Street’s broker-dealers, dropped a bombshell. For the first time, FINRA released trading data for Wall Street’s dark pools – unregistered stock exchanges that the SEC recklessly allows to trade stocks without making the bids and offers public, along with many other details.
The bombshell that mainstream business media has yet to comprehend was that the same mega Wall Street banks whose share prices crashed in the 2008 financial crisis, are today not only running dark pools for stock trading but they’re trading the stock of their own corporate parents – to the tune of tens of millions of shares a week. Those Wall Street banks include JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citigroup.
What could possibly go wrong in this arrangement?
Two days after Franklin D. Roosevelt was sworn in as President on March 4, 1933, he declared a nationwide banking holiday lasting to March 13 to stem a mushrooming banking panic and bank runs. The spark that ignited the accelerating panic was the collapse of the Bank of United States in 1930. At the time of its collapse, it was the fourth largest depositor bank in New York City, holding an astounding $268 million for over 400,000 small time depositors. It was the largest banking collapse in the nation’s history at that point.
The name of the bank, incorrectly suggesting it had U.S. government ties, fueled press coverage of the collapse and started other bank runs around the country. Continue reading