Crypto’s Crash: 100-to-1 Leverage Goes Poof!

Bitcoin

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 16, 2022 ~ Crypto was in full-blown crash mode last week, wiping out more than $300 billion in market value. TerraUSD, a so-called stablecoin that is supposed to trade at a “stable” $1 value, crashed to a few cents on the dollar. Its sister cryptocurrency, Luna, likewise imploded. Then there was Bitcoin, which Warren Buffett has called “rat poison squared.” Bitcoin plunged further last week and is now down more than 30 percent year-to-date. So much for the hype that it would be an inflation hedge like gold. Coinbase, the big crypto exchange, knocked more wind out of the sails of the crypto market on Tuesday of last week when it filed its 10-Q (quarterly report) with the Securities and Exchange Commission and essentially said it had no idea what might happen to $256 billion it held for customers. The filing illuminated its shareholders … Continue reading

Citigroup’s Stock Price Is Still Down 84 Percent from the Year of Crash in 2008

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 13, 2022 ~ On January 2, 2008, the first trading day of the year that would become the biggest Wall Street crash since the Great Depression, Citigroup’s shares closed at $28.92. Yesterday, Citigroup’s shares closed at $4.66 (adjusted for the 1-for-10 reverse stock split the company did on May 9, 2011). That means that shareholders who have hung on to the stock for the past 14 years are still down 84 percent. In terms of assets, Citigroup is the third largest bank holding company in the U.S. with $2.29 trillion in assets as of December 31, 2021. (JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America rank first and second with $3.7 trillion and $3.2 trillion in assets, respectively, as of the same date according to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.) Despite the fact that Citigroup blew itself up in 2008 with off-balance-sheet subprime … Continue reading

Scandalized Dallas Fed Keeps It All in “The Family” with Appointment of Lorie Logan as President

Lorie Logan, Head of Trading at the New York Fed

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 12, 2022 ~ Yesterday, Thomas Falk and Claudia Aguirre, who were co-chairing the Dallas Fed’s Search Committee, announced that they had found the ideal candidate to become the new Dallas Fed President. They said it was a person who would “understand the economic issues and needs of the residents of Texas, northern Louisiana and southern New Mexico,” the areas served by the Dallas Fed. Given that criteria, one might have suspected that their candidate would have some relationship with Texas or its neighboring states. But no. Falk and Aguirre selected a person who works 1500 miles from the Dallas Fed, Lorie Logan, the head of the trading desks for the New York Fed, the only one of the 12 regional Fed banks to have trading desks (one in New York near the New York Stock Exchange and one in Chicago near the futures exchange). … Continue reading

Senator Tells Treasury Secretary Yellen that Crypto Market Is Now Larger than Subprime Market that Triggered Global Financial Crisis

Janet Yellen

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 11, 2022 ~ As a result of the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation of 2010, the U.S. Treasury Secretary chairs a key group of banking and Wall Street regulators called the Financial Stability Oversight Council – pronounced F-SOC for short. The idea behind F-SOC was that Wall Street’s insane binges into things like toxic subprime debt and credit default swaps would never again be allowed to sneak up on snoozing government watchdogs, take down the U.S. economy and put the Wall Street megabanks on a long-term feeding tube from the Fed as occurred from 2008 to 2010. Yesterday, the Senate Banking Committee held a hearing to take testimony from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on F-SOC’s annual report to Congress and what F-SOC sees as the biggest threats right now to financial stability. There were numerous fireworks during the hearing, including when Senator Tim Scott, a … Continue reading

Charts: “Massive Buyers’ Strike” for Tech; Bitcoin as an Inflation Hedge Exposed as a Bad Joke; Megabanks in Freefall

Bubbles

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 10, 2022 ~ Last October 6, Bloomberg News had a prominent headline on their digital front page that read: “Citi Says Banks Are In, Tech Is Out Ahead of Rates Lift-Off.” The thrust of the article was this: “In the race to find the best hedges against higher rates and inflation, Citigroup Inc.’s chief global equity strategist is moving with the tide toward global financial stocks. “Like a growing number of his peers, Robert Buckland expects value stocks to provide a degree of protection against the market turbulence brought about by rising bond yields.” There’s a sleight of hand in that phrasing, somehow transporting the riskiest megabanks and their trillions of dollars in opaque derivatives into “value stocks.” A global bank is to a value stock what a loaded grenade is to a box of granola. There is zero correlation. (See our warning about … Continue reading

These Stock Patterns Are Impossible – Without Brazen Manipulation that the SEC Is Choosing to Ignore

Frightened Wall Street Trader

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 9, 2022 ~ Beginning in November of 2008, the Fed was allowed by Congress to manipulate the U.S. bond market through purchases of bonds with money it creates at the flick of an electronic button. The Fed calls this “Quantitative Easing” or QE.  Beginning on September 17, 2019 – when overnight lending rates on repo (repo means repurchase agreements between financial institutions) touched 10 percent instead of the 2-1/2 percent that the Fed wanted the market to be at – the Fed began providing repo loans at “administered rates.” It did that by jumping into the repo market with both feet, proceeding to make trillions of dollars in cumulative loans to trading houses on Wall Street, at interest rates as low as 0.10 percent by the spring of 2020. During 2020, the Fed also artificially propped up money market mutual funds, commercial paper, Exchange … Continue reading

Goldman Sachs Says Its Dark Pools Are Under Investigation – Along with About Everything Else the Firm Does

David Solomon, Chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 6, 2022 ~ We’ve been reading SEC filings for more than 35 years. We have to sadly say that the 10-Q that Goldman Sachs filed with the SEC on May 2, for the quarter ending March 31, 2022, shocks even our well-documented assessment of Wall Street as a crime syndicate. Goldman Sachs has listed pretty much everything the firm does as a target of an ongoing investigation, notwithstanding that the company and a subsidiary were criminally charged by the U.S. Department of Justice in the looting and bribery scandal known as 1MDB in October 2020, admitted to the charges, and had to pay over $2.9 billion. The good news is that Goldman Sachs’ Dark Pools are one of the areas it lists as being under a probe. Dark Pools (also benignly called Alternative Trading Systems or ATS) are effectively unregulated stock exchanges being run by … Continue reading

Powell Says Fed Doesn’t Have a Credibility Problem with the American People – Despite Gallup Poll Showing Lowest Confidence Since 2008 Financial Crisis

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell

By Pam Martens: May 5, 2022 ~ At the Fed’s press conference yesterday, Federal Reserve Chair Pro Tempore Jerome Powell was asked by Mike McKee of Bloomberg Television a series of questions on monetary policy which ended with this: “Are you concerned about Fed credibility with the American people?” Powell answered the monetary policy questions but did not directly address the credibility issue. McKee then repeated the question, phrased as follows: “Do you think the Fed has a credibility problem?” Powell’s answer provides an alarming insight into with whom the Fed seeks to maintain confidence. Powell said this: Powell: “No. I don’t. A good example of why would be that—so in the fourth quarter of last year, as we started talking about tapering sooner and then raising rates this year, you saw financial markets reacting, you know, very appropriately. Not to bless any particular day’s measure, but the way financial markets—you … Continue reading

What You Can Expect to Hear at the Fed’s Press Conference Today

Fed Chair Jerome Powell

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 4, 2022 ~ The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will release its decision on hiking the Fed’s benchmark interest rate at 2:00 p.m. ET today, along with its plans for shrinking the Fed’s $9 trillion balance sheet. The announcement will be followed with Fed Chair Pro Tempore Jerome Powell holding a press conference at 2:30 p.m. ET. (Powell still awaits full Senate confirmation for a second term as Fed Chair, thus the designation “Pro Tempore.” Wall Street is expecting a 50-basis point rate hike (half of one percent), which would put the Fed Funds rate in a range of 0.75 to 1 percent. Wall Street does not like large interest rate increases from the Fed because five of the megabanks are sitting with a $200 trillion albatross of derivatives around their neck with questionable counterparties on the other side of a lot of those … Continue reading

Citigroup’s Role in “Flash Crash” in Europe Yesterday Is Reminiscent of Its “Dr. Evil” Trade in 2004

Jane Fraser, Citigroup CEO

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: May 3, 2022 ~ Yesterday the international newswire, Reuters, broke the story that the U.S. megabank, Citigroup, was responsible for a flash crash that plunged Sweden’s benchmark index, the OMX, by 8 percent at its low. The index later recovered to close with a loss of just under 2 percent. The plunge caused a rapid ripple effect that briefly spread to other European stock markets. Trading volume in Europe was lower than normal yesterday because the London Stock Exchange was closed for a banking holiday. (As detailed below, Citigroup previously exploited a low volume day in August 2004 in the European bond market.) Citigroup has confirmed its role in yesterday’s flash crash, releasing the following statement on Monday: “This morning one of our traders made an error when inputting a transaction. Within minutes, we identified the error and corrected it.” El Pais, a leading newspaper … Continue reading