Monday, November 17, 2014

Financial Sarcasm Roundup for 11/17/14

A month of nothing but haiku and limericks needs some sarcasm to bring the old routine back.

Halliburton and Baker Hughes are getting hitched.  The longstanding independence of Howard Hughes' business legacy is ending.  One legendary drill bit sure had long legs.  Halliburton can now busy itself with the weekly US oil and gas rig count.  Political campaign contributions sometimes determine the outcome of antitrust scrutiny.

High speed traders are playing with fire in the Treasury market.  One fat fingered trading error could easily give the bond market a flash crash that would jeopardize the solvency of several major banks holding government bonds.  A lot of hedge fund managers are going to have their rear ends handed to them on a silver platter because they can't adjust their portfolios to new "regimes" in volatility.  It serves them right.  It also serves the Fed right for digging itself a hole by becoming the world's largest bond hedge fund, and the emergency gates they plan to slam shut will catch a lot of individual bond investors with illiquid securities.

Other hedge funds are cutting their long bets on gold.  It's like they couldn't have messed up more if they had planned to fail.  Exiting long positions in a commodity with a falling price won't look good in their annual reports to shareholders, but hedge fund investors are too dumb to read those reports anyway.  I wonder what hedge funds consider to be a safe haven asset if they are so easily spooked out of precious metals.  Oh BTW, bullion redemptions from gold ETFs haven't broken those instruments' paper hedges just yet, so the retail investor has more breathing room before being locked out of trading this instrument too.

Lots of people won't be able to catch a break when things start breaking down.  I'll watch the multi-lane pileup from the roadside cafe, someplace where a Halliburton truck is mounting a Baker Hughes rig.

Full disclosure:  No positions in any companies mentioned.  Long GDX, not gold bullion or bullion instruments.