Ben Bernanke Breaks Out QE3 Bazooka

September 13th, 2012 by invasive · bernanke, breaking news

Bernanke Breaks Out Money Bazooka for QE3

Ben Bernanke has done exactly what the market expected him to do: he kick-started QE3. Get ready for a monetary onslaught courtesy of his trusty bazooka!

Why the bazooka? Well, that’s what people are calling it, as seen here and here. Any why not? The helicopter is only there to get Benny into position. The bazooka is the follow-through; the big guns!

The FED announced it was taking action to further dampen interest rates with its third round of quantitative easing. This time, QE3 will take the form of purchasing $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities a month until the labor market improves (i.e. indefinitiely).

Pedro Nicolaci da Costa, a reporter for Reuters, called Ben’s QE3 Bazooka a “very aggresive move.”

Operation Twist also remains in effect, at least until the end of the year. Through Operation Twist, the FED buys up long-term Treasuries while selling shorter-term issues. The idea is to keep the interest rates low, way past 2014.

So far today, the market likes it. DOW up 186.50 to 13,519. Gold up 32.9 to 1,766.60. We guess you should just buy anything not nailed down.

This also looks like good news for Obama going into November.


Bots Gone Wild (Again)

August 1st, 2012 by alyx · fail, markets

Not the first time, and I doubt it’ll be the last, but the market had another ‘lil glitch this morning. This one fell on the doorstep of Knight Capital Group – in the form of a disruption that affected a wide variety of stocks. NYSE is canceling a multitude of trades in affected shares:

Only five of the six stocks have been named so far. The affected companies include: Wizzard Software [WZE, +22%], Quicksilver [KWK, +5.31%], E House [EJ, -7.01%], American Reprographics [ARC, +0.46%] and China Cord Blood +22.7%].

Electronic trading firm Knight Capital Group said Wednesday that a “technology issue” in its market-making unit had affected the routing of shares of about 150 stocks to the New York Stock Exchange, where abnormal volatility roiled the markets in early trading. Several market participants said the source of the problem may have been large orders meant to be filled throughout the day that were instead executed in a shorter time frame, with some saying it was handled in the first 15 minutes of trading.

“That has disrupted all the normal activities — stocks are moving all over the place, they are weird, they are trading like millions of shares, 100 shares at a time, so something went haywire somewhere,” said Stephen Massocca, managing director, Wedbush Morgan in San Francisco.

Up is down, cats and dogs living together, etc.

While I was looking into Wizzard (actually a podcast-hosting concern), I uncovered a band from the 1970s by the same name, and I can’t not share this gem with you:

(full disclosure: no position in puppets, ill-fitting skullcaps, eyeliner or upright bass)

Knight’s stock took a nearly 33% bitchslap on the day, with some in the options market expecting it to fall even further (unless that’s bot action too, who knows).

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Moodiness and Negativity In the Eurozone

July 24th, 2012 by alyx · loller euro

… well, Moody-ness and negativity basically everywhere except in Finland. Fearing fallout from Spain and Italy, Moody’s put Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg on negative outlook, but reaffirmed Finland’s Aaa rating, citing strong Koskenkorva sales and an increase in rare exports.

Kidding. The legit reasoning was more like this:

Although Finland would not be expected to be unaffected by the euro crisis, its net assets (Finland has no debt on a net basis), its small and domestically oriented banking system, its limited exposure to, and therefore relative insulation from, the euro area in terms of trade, and its attempts to collateralise its euro area sovereign support together provide strong buffers which differentiate it from the other Aaas.

Not that ratings mean anything any more, but still. In addition to keeping their banking system localized, they gave us Angry Birds, they gave us Marimekko, they gave us the best airport lounge on the planet at Helsinki-Vantaa, so the whole Nokia thing notwithstanding the Finns do seem to be doing something right, I suppose.

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@NatWest Can’t Help You With Your Account

June 25th, 2012 by alyx · fail

Dunno about you guys, but I woke up to a tropical storm today and I thought that was pretty horrible. But this poor girl apparently awoke a couple days ago to find that an angry mob thought she was a bank, and not just any bank but NatWest – whose massive IT glitch that has caused a week of account errors after a failed software upgrade was probably worthy of its own failboat had I been paying more attention.

But back to Natalie Westerman. Her Twitter handle’s @natwest, which is probably the first thing you’d type when looking for NatWest if you were too lazy to actually check. But that’s also her name, and she’s been using social media longer than the aforementioned financial institution. Amazingly, though, Tweeps seem to not believe her:

Miss Westerman’s Twitter biography says “I am a 22 year old woman and I’m not a bank” but that hasn’t stopped users of the social network from angry NatWest customers hit by the computer problem that has now entered its seventh day.

Many NatWest customers have been left unable to access internet banking, with money disappearing from bank accounts or not being paid in. Miss Westerman has greeted their often abusive Twitter messages with good humour. She tweeted: “I’ve never felt so popular in my life. I am a person called nat west not a bank.” Miss Westerman has been directing customers to NatWest’s official Twitter account, @natwest_help.

Poor girl is getting berated and all sorts of nonsense. Of course, the actual @natwest_help account has only been posting platitudes and not even bothering to engage with customers, so maybe they’d do well to hire Nat West to help out with that – instead of opening bank branches on Sunday and forcing customers to take time out of their weekends to physically go in and rectify the bank’s mistakes.

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Oh, Jamie

May 15th, 2012 by alyx · jamie dimon

Sorry, we’ve been quiet, but two bil is finally enough to interrupt Jason’s and my days. Sigh.

Poor Jamie – we’ve not lampooned him much around here, and now they’re calling for his head. Not that I think he’ll resign, or that I can ever see the words “What I did wasn’t good for America” coming out of his mouth, or anything. And only (“only”) 40% of shareholders voted to split the chairman/CEO roles. But it doesn’t change the fact that the Justice Department is now looking into JPM’s two-beelion-dollar trading oopsie, that the words “too big to regulate” and “too big to fail” aren’t gone from our vocabulary yet, etc.

But at least the President has JPM’s back, according to some talk show. So, carry on.