by Turd Ferguson, TF Metals:
There's a lot of amazement and wonder at how the "stock market" can be up today with the devastating news out of Texas and the latest North Korean missile launch. Longtime readers of TFMR know exactly how this market levitation is accomplished so this post is designed as a public service in order to better educate and inform everyone else.
Let's just keep it simple...
In 2017...and, actually, since 2008...the "markets" don't actually exist. Oh sure, there are trades and prices but in terms of what the markets were 20 years ago?...those days are long gone. Instead, what we have now is total HFT domination. Over 90% of all volume on the NYSE and NASDAQ is now done through HFT machines that swap positions back and forth. This is common knowledge and if you and I know this, then you can be assured that The Fed, The ECB and the BoJ (known henceforth as the G-3) know this, too.
To that end, since the G-3 are dedicated to market stability and the wealth effect, these central banks clearly seek to influence the direction of the equity markets by influencing the two key drivers of the HFT machines. And what are these drivers? The currency pair of USDJPY and the volatility index known as the VIX. Simply stated, if your wish is to drive "the stock market" higher, all you need to do is buy the USDJPY while at the same time selling the VIX. It truly is that simple.
To that end, daily observation of trading patterns allows us to observe a clear and obvious, algo-driven program in the all-important USDJPY. Because of the sheer size of the forex market (up to $7T/day), any algorithm put in place to manage this pair could only come from pockets deep enough to make it happen....namely, the G-3.
And what does this computer-based, G-3 buying program look like. Again, in the simplest terms, this program sets up a USDJPY floor at some pre-determined or even random level. Once a bounce is initiated, a buy program then follows after the pair have come back down to a newly-discovered double bottom. For today (Tuesday, the 29th), it looked like this:
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