Saturday, January 29, 2011

Meet The Man Behind The Liquidating Hedge Fund That Blew Up The Gold Market

Over the past several weeks there had been rumors that the reason for the precipitous drop in gold was primarily driven by a hedge fund liquidating its futures positions. This has now been confirmed: "Yeah, that was just me liquidating my spread position," Mr. Daniel Shak, [of SHK Asset Management] 51 years old, said in an interview. "I had a significant, fully margined position. The dollar amount of the gold liquidation was very small, it was just a lot of contracts." Of course in the extremely jittery gold market, the kind of persistent marginal gross selling of contracts was all that was needed to spook weak hands into a consistent dump of the precious metal, which as we pointed out was beyond overdone. Judging by this morning's jump in the PM complex, SHK's liquidation is now not only over but about to promptly reverse as daytrading momos realize they were duped by one single guy. Look for gold to resume its upward advance as investors realize that the gold dump was nothing more than an ongoing futures position liquidation.

More from the WSJ:

A huge trade by a tiny hedge fund has sent shudders through the gold market.

Thanks to the nature of futures trading, Daniel Shak's $10 million hedge fund held gold contracts valued at more than $850 million, more than 10% of the main U.S. futures market, and the equivalent of South Africa's annual gold production.

But as gold prices started falling this year, the trade, which was a combination of being long and short gold contracts—bets that prices will both rise and fall—started going bad. Monday, he liquidated his position, and is returning money to clients.

As a result, the number of gold contracts on CME Group Inc.'s Comex division plunged more than 81,000, to about 500,000, the biggest single reduction ever. While his trade didn't account for all of the contracts, an average daily move is about 3,000 to 5,000 contracts.

That Mr. Shak and his firm, SHK Asset Management, could control one of the largest positions in the gold market underscores how leverage can enable investors to control huge positions in many commodity markets. (more)

Governments Toppleing, Who's Next?

Market Manipulation, Why Gold and Silver Have Declined

The Thompson Reuters CRB index weighting has not changed since 2005. However, virtually all other commodities related indexes do rebalance in early Jan of every year. For instance the $CCI consists of 17 commodity constituents – with 5.88 % of the index allotted to each commodity. It rebalances in early Jan. every year.

Silver’s RABID TEAR [out performance] last year ensured that it would be “cut back” to conform to its intended 5.88 % weight.

Other commodities indexes do the SAME THING.

Big Banks know this – they run or manage most of these index funds.

Index funds dominate the trading universe more today than at any time in our financial history.

Silver and gold are being PUNISHED – in a macro sense – in early Jan - from a commodity index re-weighting point of view – PRECISELY because they outperformed so much last year. This explains why silver is getting creamed so much more than gold – it way outperformed gold on a relative basis last year.

It’s my understanding that this rebalancing window effectively closes with the expiration of Jan. Options [Wed]. (more)

Cycles of the Standard & Poor's Composite since 1932

Chart 1

We have isolated 18 completed swing cycles and the first half of the nineteenth swing cycle on this chart. We also show our interpretation of four completed secular cycles and a fifth in progress. Each secular cycle is measured from bottom to bottom, and they vary in length from 826 weeks (15.88 years) to 904 weeks (17.38 years). The following chart and table provide more details on the various sub-cycles.

sp composite

Chart 2

Some statistics on each Secular Cycle and the breakdown of each into 4 sub-cycles.

sp composite monthly chart 2


Eric Sprott - Expect $50 Silver, Gold Possibly $2,150 by Spring

With gold and silver rallying off the lows today, King World News interviewed Eric Sprott, Chairman of Sprott Asset Management which has $8 billion under management. When asked about the Sprott physical silver trust acquiring silver Eric stated, “We had to go into the market and buy about 15 million net ounces from third parties and it took us about ten weeks. It was a very, very long process and the one thing we can read out of it is obviously there weren’t 15 million ounces sitting around somewhere.”

Sprott continues:

“I haven’t had time to study where the bars came from, but I can tell you by looking at the pictures of the bars they look like they came right out of the refineries. So I suspect it’s a hand to mouth situation in silver.

I think if we went in to by twenty million ounces of silver it would take a long time. I know we had an order to buy a million ounces about five weeks ago for a different account and the delivery was going to be two months. So I think silver is as tight as a drum.

When asked about price targets for both gold and silver Eric responded, “Our best technical advisor, he thinks (gold) it’s going to $2,150, and he thinks it is going to $2,150 this spring.

I think silver is a little easier to predict because I think it’s going to change relative to gold which is a more predictable event and more timely. I’ve always thought that silver should touch $50, and I’m not going to be surprised if it touches it by the middle of this year as people realize there is an absolute shortage.”

International Forecaster: Bob Chapman - A Decade Of Progress Wiped Out By Financial Policy

The corporation is not a person, a government that spends most of what it has, DHS snoops in your safety deposit box, a decade of jobs wiped out, Fed may feel losses, inflation makes itself known again.

There is nothing dumb about the financial media. They know exactly what they are doing. All they want to do is keep their jobs and in that process they sell out themselves, their families and friends, other people and their country. They know government statistics are bogus, but they won‘t report that, because if they did they will be discharged. There are two sets of alternative figures. One shows inflation at 6.75% and the other 8%. As we have reported before the PPI reflects 13-1/2% to 14%, so how can official inflation be 1.2%? If this is truly the case how can inflation be tame with food and energy prices going through the roof?

What we are seeing are the results of QE1 and QE2 in the form of growing inflation. This is our gift from chairman Ben Bernanke. The recovery he envisions can only be translated into some kind of temporary relief, which is the product of monetary distortion, not recovery. In addition observers see higher sales, but never factor in the growth of inflation. That is why the CPI figures are distorted as much as they are officially by government. This year will be a classic inflation year with prices rising in all sectors. We see current inflation at 6-3/4% and by the end of the year that should be 14%. If you refer back to CPI -U it is 6.2%, the CPI-W 7.8% and the 1980 SGS of 8.9% you can see 14% is a very tame number. If we have to guess in December the official CPI will beat 5-1/2%. (more)

Dow Theory Update and Values

At present, we have a Dow theory non-confirmation in place that began in mid-January. According to Dow theory, we must operate under the assumption that the previously established trend is still intact until it is reversed with a move above or below the previous secondary high or low point. In this case, a downside trend reversal would require a move below the previous secondary low point. Until such time, the primary trend change that occurred in conjunction with the March 2009 low still remains intact. Now, as for non-confirmations, they serve as warnings of a possible trend change. Non-confirmations do not mean that a trend change is inevitable, because it is possible that the non-confirmation can be corrected. It is also possible that the previous secondary high or low point will not be penetrated. The current non-confirmation can be seen on the chart below. If this non-confirmation is not corrected then I know from my trend quantification work that there are statistical guides that can be used to help us gauge the meaning of this non-confirmation as well as the expected outcome. I will cover that all in the research letters and updates if it continues to develop. For now, this is a warning that must simply be watched and measured against the statistical and other implications. Don’t confuse non-confirmations to automatically be a “sell signal” because in accordance with Dow theory, that is a misconception. There is much more to the story that just a non-confirmation. Rather, it is a process in which statistical and other structural evidence must be understood, weighed and considered.


In the last post here on January 14th I talked about bull and bear market relationships. In that post I explained some of the big picture reasons that the rally out of the March 2009 low must still be viewed as a longer-term bear market rally. (more)

Economist: United States Worse Off than Greece
Dr. Laurence Kotlikoff is an economics professor at Boston University. He says the Treasury and the government are fudging the national debt numbers. Kotlikoff says the United States is bankrupt and we don’t even know it.

During his SOTU address, Obama called for a freeze on discretionary spending. He called for a five-year freeze on non-mandatory domestic spending, a proposal he estimated would save $400 billion over the next decade.

He said entitlements like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security will need to be reformed without mentioning specifics. In other words, the government is thinking about cutting these programs to the bone. Boomers will be eating dog food after their pensions are stolen and the entitlement Ponzi scheme breaks down.

On Thursday, Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf testified before the Senate Budget Committee. He said if the country does not balance the budget soon it will find itself in a debt-driven fiscal crisis.

Jim Grant: "The Fed Is Now In The Business Of Manipulating The Stock Market...Should Confess It Has Sinned Grievously"

Jim Grant, who will never be accused of being a fan of the Criminal Reserve, and whose views on what will happen to asset prices in a printer-happy world are gradually being validated, appeared on Bloomberg TV, telling Margaret Brennan upfront that Bernanke owes the world an apology.

Alas, after various revolutions around the world have been catalyzed by Bernanke’s policies, we have a feeling that ever more oppressed people will soon see the Printer in Chief as a patron saint of violent revolution, alas against crony regimes fully supported by the US (and hopefully the US will view it the same way when its time comes).

That aside, Grant’s criticism of the Fed should really start to grate on the Chaircreature:

"I think what would be very good for the Fed if there would be a confession, the Fed should confess that it has sinned grievously, and is in violation of every single precept of its founders and every single convention of classical central banking. Quantitative Easing is a symptom of the difficulties that the Fed has created for itself. The Fed is running a balance sheet which if it were the balance sheet attached to a bank in the private sector would probably move the FDIC to shut it down. The New York Branch of the Fed is leveraged more than 80 to 1. Meaning, that a loss of asset value of less than 1.5% would send it into receivership if it were a different kind of institution…The Fed is now in the business of manipulating the stock market."

Jim also has some very critical discussions on how the Fed never settles up on the $3.4 trillion in custodial debt on its books. As always, we can’t get enough as more and more mainstream figures turn to bashing that biggest abortion of modern capital markets.

Full interview (watch video click here)

Substantial Future Home Price Declines Predicted By Goldman Sachs And Peak Theories

For anyone following the recent collapse in mortgage applications, the recent "strength" in new and existing home sales is nothing but the latest joke to spin the nth bounce from the bottom as the "this is it" moment which Cramer has been trying to do with disastrous results ever since the summer of 2009. Oddly, reading a recent surprisingly bearish Goldman economic outlook (or not so surprising: it lays out the framework for Goldman to start advocating MBS purchases as part of QE3) piece from Sven Jari Stehn confirms our concerns that any attempt at shining light behind the headlines exposes ever more cockroaches. In "Mortgage Applications Point to Near-Term Home Sales Weakness" Stehn highlights the same issues we have been pounding on the table for months: namely that near contemporaneous plunge in mortgage applications is far more troubling and should be given far more impact than new, pending and existing home sales in any one prior period. Goldman summarizes: "The number of mortgage applications, however, has declined sharply in recent weeks. Specifically, the volume of mortgage applications for purchase—reported in a timely fashion every week by the Mortgage Bankers Association—declined by a cumulative 14% during the last three weeks. Does the decline in mortgage applications suggest that home sales are set to decline again in coming months?" In short the answer is yes, and the full note below explains it. Additionally, we have provided some technical perspectives from Peak Theories which predict a 7% drop based on recent chart patterns. Needless to say, we believe the drop will be far greater when all is said and done, now that the Bernank has given up on attempting to keep mortgage rates low and only cares about boosting stock prices. (more)

The Weekly Peak - January 28, 2011

HES Radio: World Financial Report

The World Financial Report brings you timely information on the worlds most exciting markets like oil, precious metals, currencies, commodities and hard money markets like very rare color diamonds and collectibles. The World Financial Report makes predictions and gives investment advice and has been very successful in identifying trends in the marketplace.

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The Economist - 29 January 2011

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