Tag Archives: Goldman Sachs

Calvin Screaming

Market Manipulation

Calvin ScreamingEvery so often I get thinking about The Manipulated Market. When markets defy logic to such an extreme degree only one of two explanations is possible. 1) Either your understanding of the forces that move markets is so fundamentally flawed that migrant farm work might be more rewarding; or 2) forces are at work which neither the press, bloggers, twitterers, or even Ben Bernanke have the courage to ‘expose’, question, criticize, regulate, or remotely ‘deal with’.

To Big To Fail = Big Enough To Manipulate.

We’re living through a sort of post 9/11 self-reflection while at the same time struggling with the contradictions of rising ‘wealth’ and shrinking disposable income. Capitalism is taking a hit, privacy is taking a hit, and the free market altar seems to be experiencing Alzheimers under stimulus ad infinitum. Some traders make every effort to avoid any and all ‘macro’ inputs to their trading strategy and focus only on: charts, price action, measurable ratios, divergences, volatility, etc. etc. etc. Those traders, presumably investment bank equity desks, and your friendly neighborhood algo are doing well… Very well.

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Z@roHedge and F@ckedCompany

In THE heyday FuckedCompany was THE site.

Between 2000 and 2007 FuckedCompany kept an unofficial count of the imploding internet bubble while smiling at the same time. Philip “Pud” Kaplan had his 15 minutes of fame publishing internal emails and chronicling the human cost of bad internet ideas. The site was subversive and mocking, you paid for the good stuff and it shined a sarcastic light on the dissipating euphoria of the time. Geeks (like the Greeks today…) were having a good time, some were even getting lucky, technology was enlightening and more and more people felt they could change the world by giving stuff away free.

The mainstream media eventually picked up on the site, and “Pud” started getting sued and having to bath. But watching the implosion while working at a start-up was disconcerting to say the least. I’d go into the office every day, sit down on my Herman Miller chair and check first to see if someone had leaked an email with my name in it. And a few had… I would troll the leaked emails for crusty tidbits about the competition. You would see Enron and Citigroup carnage alongside Scient and Razorfish (Remember the 2 Billion valuation and 1800 employees?). Political correctness was mocked mercilessly. This is an email from Citigroup C under a subject ‘ Umm, buttfucked?‘.

From: GCIB Corporate Communications
Sent: 6/15/04 2:36 PM
Subject: Pride Month: Panel Discussion and Contest to Win Free Concert Tickets

To: GCIB & Smith Barney New York-area Employees
From: Patricia David, GCIB & Smith Barney Global Head of Diversity
Re: Pride Month Panel Lunch and Contest to Win Free Concert Tickets

What to say? What not to say? What if I display a picture of my same-sex partner on my cubicle wall? What if my employee puts up a portrait of his daughter and her same-sex partner and children?

For lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees, many social interactions involve a conscious decision on whether or not to be open about their status. It’s the same for many straight employees with LGBT children, siblings, friends, or colleagues.

In celebration of Pride Month, the GCIB and Smith Barney Office of Global Diversity invites you to attend its special panel discussion “Being Out in the Workplace: The Impact on Relationships with Colleagues and Customers.” The panel will feature several gay, lesbian and straight Citigroup professionals who, over the course of the luncheon, will share their experiences about being “out” at work. Among other things, the panelists will also share their views on the issues facing LGBT employees today.

This event will take place on Monday, June 21, from noon – 2 PM in the Greenwich Rooms, 388 Greenwich Street, 3rd floor. Lunch will be served and seating is limited, so please RSVP by sending an e-mail to Nancie De Almeida (nancie.dealmeida@citigroup.com) by Friday, June 18. As always, this event is open to all employees and promises to be a great opportunity for you to meet other Citigroup professionals!

etc…

I started thinking about FuckedCompany because I read ZeroHedge religiously. ZeroHedge has the intelligence to run anonymously under “Tyler Durden”, a character from Fight Club, and though ZeroHedge has a serious gripe against Goldman, GS it’s not the “occupy wall street crowd” writing the content. This is one of todays posts under the subject ‘European Mission Accomplished: Everyone is Now Thoroughly Baffled With Bullshit‘.

“Some time ago we suggested that in lieu of actual practicable solutions (and a promise to recapitalize several trillion worth of insolvent banks absent some magic money printing tree or gold coin defecating unicorn, is so stupid only the market ramping vacuum tube algos can believe, if only for a few hours), the only thing left for Europe’s leaders is to baffle absolutely everyone with relentless bullshit.”

The subversion strikes the same chord for me today that FuckedCompany struck in 2004/5/6. Insiders are sharing some crusty perspectives, perspectives that WERE available only to a very elite crowd. They’re smartly writing anonymously under 1st amendment protection, and they’re likely profiting very well from these morsels. I can’t help thinking conscience probably crept up on these contributors. Pud on the other hand was probably just trying to get lucky; his readers, even.

Never-the-less if this parallel has any merit, it’s worth thinking about. The internet hasn’t gone away though many/most of the high fliers have, the institutional markets won’t go away but the financial mafia might be in for some changes.

Thanks to the surely unauthorized efforts of fuckedcompanyarchives.com and of course ZeroHedge for it’s ongoing scepticism.