Monday, March 31, 2014

Financial Sarcasm Roundup for 03/31/14

March is almost over and the "ides" passed without incident from either lions or lambs.  Calendar idioms aren't very useful in sarcasm.  Financial topics are a lot more useful.

The IPCC is raising the alarm about the climate change threat to the world economy.  I hope they put enough qualifications about probabilities in their report this time.  Critics need to read the footnotes carefully.  The bright side of climate change is that previously frozen tundra will make great farmland.  Just think of the lucrative eco-tourist opportunities that will be available when inland flooding turns previously inhabited floodplains into marshes.

US stock markets are rigged to favor HFT funds.  No kidding.  I've been saying that since like, what, 2008 or so right here on this blog.  Individual investors, traditional mutual funds, and even index funds are getting nickel-and-dimed to death by hedge funds that pay for special access to trade information.  Making new platforms to route around HFT won't matter for long.  HFTs will sign up for those platforms and start gaming them all over again.  The manipulation will persist until a market crash destroys hedge funds with margin calls and rising interest rates remove cheap leverage from those hedge funds that remain.

China wants to make life easier for foreign institutions in its QFII program.  The hidden agenda here is obvious.  China knows it can't bail out all of the shadow banking WMP instruments that are in danger of popping.  Making QFII participation more attractive allows foreign suckers to buy into these things before they collapse.  Let's see if foreign banks rush in fast enough to get sucked into a shadow bailout of the shadow banking system.

I'll be down in Silicon Valley this week seeking out technical wisdom.  Who knows what new innovations lurk there.