Recent comments by Mike in Long Island

For the record, it has been snowing essentially the entire day, but there isn't much accumulation. The impact on people's traveling habits, however, are obvious everywhere.

I think the isle of Manhattan tends to resist snow accumulation initially given the heat from underground steam, subways, and traffic.

So it can be a bit deceiving. My wife has informed me that there is enough accumulation in lawn guyland to shovel already.

I may make an early departure today.

Under $20. to fill my car today.
Wonder how long it will last.

$2.29/gallon for regular gas is the cheapest by me right now.

Neanderthals had culture, were artists and smart, study says - Newsday

Yet the latest research on the history and habits of Neanderthals suggests that such portrayals of them are entirely undeserved. It turns out that Neanderthals were capable hunters who used tools and probably had some semblance of culture, and the DNA record shows that if you trace your ancestry to Europe or Asia, chances are very good that you have some Neanderthal DNA in your own genome.

Best of luck in the str0m, MiL.... it lookalike a beeg one Sad


My snow thrower went swimming in Sandy. The replacement went off to college this year so I broke down and stimulated the economy. Nice 24" 2 stage thrower. No heated grips or headlights though Wink

I have 15 gallons of gas for the generator and another 2 1/2 for the snow thrower. I'm hoping I don't need the genny.

Snow will start in 51 min
Sh!t Sad

It's already snowing here. The heavy stuff isn't supposed to come down until later this evening.

Is limit down 100 SPX pts ?

I don't know the futures lock/limit.

The market wide circuit breakers key off the S&P now.

Under the revised rules approved by the SEC, market-wide circuit breakers will provide for cross-market trading halts during a severe market decline as measured by a single-day decrease in the S&P 500 Index. A cross-market trading halt can be triggered at three circuit breaker thresholds—7% (Level 1), 13% (Level 2), and 20% (Level 3). These triggers are set by the markets at point levels that are calculated daily based on the prior day’s closing price of the S&P 500 Index.

A market decline that triggers a Level 1 or Level 2 circuit breaker before 3:25 p.m. will halt market-wide trading for 15 minutes, while a similar market decline “at or after” 3:25 p.m. will not halt market-wide trading. A market decline that triggers a Level 3 circuit breaker, at any time during the trading day, will halt market-wide trading for the remainder of the trading day.

Planning on going anywhere tomorrow?

Work. Home - hopefully - before it gets too bad. Mass transit all the way. The heavy snow is between midnight Monday and noon or so on Tuesday. So I will likely stay home on Tuesday.

Blame it on the snow

The wind gonna play havoc with the power grid.

Can you ski off the shorter buildings or hills, Mike?

There actually used to be a ski slope on long island but a series of no snow winters killed it off.

I had you pegged as someone who would prefer a tall tale black.

I meant to say long black.

Eh - I'm revealing my ignorance of the premium cafe/coffee bar menu's. I walked into a place and was confronted with a host of names like flat white, long black, afogado and must have annoyed the barista when I asked for a medium brewed coffee.

I am sitting here at Burnt Swill - er - Starbucks Coffee drinking what's called a flat white.

I had you pegged as someone who would prefer a tall black.

I've never been fortunate enough to encounter any of their beer. I would love to try Pliny The Elder and Pliny The Younger.

I have a local brewery that does a very nice west coast style IPA

Money | Barrier Brewing Company | Oceanside, NY | BeerAdvocate

Fun quiz. Guess the author:
Before mid-century, Las Vegas will be as desolate as Egypt’s Valley of the Kings. Try to imagine the money that went into building all that stupid shit in the desert. In another decade, across America, the housing subdivisions and commercial highway strips filled with tilt-up box stores, muffler shops and burger dispensaries will retain less value than the pyramids of Palenque had for the Mayans after their society rolled over and died. The so-called real economy is a New Age serfdom of burger fryers and janitors, indentured to that entropic sink. Below them is a widening slough of methedrine, child abuse, and tattoo art on its way to becoming Soylent Green. To put it bluntly, the dollar is entropy’s algo bitch.


The complaint against NY State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver makes for some interesting reading for anyone interested in the inner-workings of the real estate development business in NYC.

An Alleged $4 Million Bribery Scheme Results in Five Felony Charges for Sheldon Silver | Village Voice

The criminal complaint, unsealed at 9:30 a.m. today, alleges that Silver "engaged in a secret and corrupt scheme to deprive the citizens...of his honest services, and to extort individuals and entities under color of official right." The complaint alleges that Silver accepted at least $4 million in bribes in what amounts to a fairly straightforward kickback scheme.

According to prosecutors, there were two primary channels; Silver would use his influence to convince unnamed developers seeking state approval on real estate contracts to hire a law firm with which he had a financial arrangement. In return, that law firm — which was not named in the complaint — would pay Silver a percentage of the fees generated by his "referrals." In a separate scheme, Silver helped steer state funds for medical research to an unnamed doctor, who in turn sent Silver legal clients with potentially lucrative asbestos-related injuries. Silver is accused of using a byzantine system of bank accounts — at least eight separate accounts at six different financial institutions — to store the ill-gotten funds, a potential indication that he was conspiring to hide his activity. The criminal complaint says that the investigation into Silver's complicated financial arrangement is ongoing.

The actual complaint can be seen here

Sheldon Silver Seizure Affidavit

Ok -- and I see that each team plays with their own balls.

Yep. It only came to light after an interception when the Colts noticed the softness of the ball. Not that it made a difference at that point.

Not being much of a football fan, I don't see how under inflated balls would help the Patriots.

In wet or cold conditions under inflation may make it easier to grip the ball - beneficial to both the quarterback and receivers.

Anyone seen Whiskey? Found a steal of a deal on lawn guyland.

Sands Point home going for $38M comes with personal chef, driver - Newsday

What do you get for 38-million smackers? Nearly four acres of land, lots of nifty features and water views that stretch to Connecticut.
Guests enter a soaring living room with five seating areas (the home has room to entertain up to 500 guests) and a glass wall facing the Sound.

LOCATION: Sands Point

ASKING PRICE: $38 million







The Smithsonian was working on a an image reader (photographed 78s and played them virtually). I think you can still buy 78 needles for cartridges, but it might set you back.

Grado-78 RPM Mono Pickup Stylus-Stylus | Acoustic Sounds

Then you have the high end stuff.

Cartridges | Acoustic Sounds

nothing wrong with it......done right, more positive than wire nuts, and 99% certain it's still NEC approved
but a real PITA when you need to fix things.....

I always thought that crimps were okay with stranded wire but not with solid wire but I am probably wrong.

mil spec upside down outlets......things that look like wire nuts but are really free-spinning caps on crimps....

I've never seen crimps used in household wiring. 12v or 24 v DC wiring yep but not AC.

I have a few times. Once I found a piece of 12 ga stranded that had turned to green dust for a length of about 15 feet.

It gets really interesting when you have both AC and DC systems. Bonding systems, electrolysis, fun stuff. Not.

people who wire utility outlets with #12 (real, old style, #12----mil sizes seem to have done a 2x4 thing), leave no slack, and use taped copper crimps, PISS ME OFF

You mean someone pigtailed the romex/bx cable inside the outlet and used electrical tape and not wire nuts?

Sounds like a recipe for an electrical fire. The prior owner of my abode fancied himself quite the electrician. I'm still finding stuff here and there that makes me go My Head Just Exploded

I replaced all the outlets and light switches when I moved in and I found enough stuff to keep my busy for a while. Of course some stuff like the buried outlets were only found during a remodel of the kitchen Facepalm

Since we are talking about trucks somewhat on topic....

Judge Orders NYPD to Release Records on X-ray Vans - ProPublica

The long-term health risks of low levels of radiation are unknown. But the National Academy has taken the position that the danger comes from cumulative exposure and that even trivial amounts increase the risk of cancer.

The X-ray vans—which reportedly cost between $729,000 and $825,000 each—are designed to find organic materials such as drugs and explosives. The rays penetrate the metal in a car or concrete in a building and scatter back to a detector, producing an image of what's inside. The van can scan while driving alongside a row of shipping containers or while parked as cars pass by. Customs agencies around the world have used them to fight drug and human smuggling.

But most Federal Drug Administration regulations for medical X-rays do not apply to security equipment, leaving the decision of when and how to use the scanners up to law enforcement agencies such as the NYPD.

The NYPD's policies are of particular interest because many agencies have adopted strict policies to address potential harm from backscatter X-ray scans. When Customs began using the vans extensively in 2010, the agency prohibited their use on occupied vehicles and required that people get out of the vehicles before they were X-rayed.

But because the NYPD has refused to release the department's policies and procedures, it's unclear how widely the vans are being used—if at all, whether they're being used to scan people or even if police are deploying them for routine patrols on busy city streets.

For example, the NYPD asserted in court records that it did not have any records detailing its policies for privacy protections, how long images from the X-ray vans could be kept or who in the NYPD could view the images.

That conflicted with a court affidavit from Daddario, the counterterrorism chief, who discussed such documents and why they shouldn't be disclosed.

And its gone...

Swiss Franc Trade Is Said to Wipe Out Everest’s Main Fund - Bloomberg

Marko Dimitrijevic, the hedge fund manager who survived at least five emerging market debt crises, is closing his largest hedge fund after losing virtually all its money this week when the Swiss National Bank unexpectedly let the franc trade freely against the euro, according to a person familiar with the firm.

Everest Capital’s Global Fund had about $830 million in assets as of the end of December, according to a client report. The Miami-based firm, which specializes in emerging markets, still manages seven funds with about $2.2 billion in assets. The global fund, the firm’s oldest, was betting the Swiss franc would decline, said the person, who asked not to be named because the information is private.

I wonder what it was secured with.

Client funds of course Smile

Hard money lender....

FXCM, Brokerage Hit by Swiss Shock, Gets $300 Million From Jefferies Owner Leucadia  - Bloomberg

Leucadia, which owns New York-based investment bank Jefferies Group, extended FXCM a two-year, $300 million senior secured term loan with an initial coupon of 10 percent, according to a statement Friday. The transaction allows FXCM, the largest U.S. retail foreign-exchange broker, to “continue normal operations,” according to the statement.

Was there some sort of double pinky swear that the various Central Bankers all agreed to, and to violate it would've been unspeakable?
That hardly seems like a billion to 1 shot...

It's a billion to 1 shot in the eyes of risk models which are based on recent historic volatility.

So much for "automate everything and get rid of the expensive humans".....

It is quite possible to have separate events in short order, even those of 7+ standard deviations...

Indeed it is. He goes on to point out something like that later in the article

This is obviously dumb. You can't predict the next billion years based on the last one year of data. A billion years ago, how much were your euros worth? The franc was not volatile for a reason, and then it became volatile for a reason, and those reasons were mostly related to the policy actions of the Swiss National Bank, and those actions were and are comprehensible by the human mind, as long as that human mind didn't just robotically consider one year of historical data price data and nothing else. Most forecasters, who have human minds, did not predict that the SNB would remove its cap this quarter, or even this year, but they thought it might happen in 2016. No one was waiting until 1000002015.

I like this opinion/view piece from Matt Levine

No One Was Supposed to Lose This Much Money on Swiss Francs - Bloomberg View

Those two days -- yesterday and today -- really put the previous year in perspective.

Goldman Sachs Chief Financial Officer Harvey Schwartz said on this morning's earnings call that this was something like a 20-standard-deviation event, and while the exact number of standard deviations is of course a subjective matter, that's unquestionably the right ballpark.

An 11-standard-deviation daily move should happen once every ... hmmm let's see, Wikipedia gives up after seven standard deviations, but a 7-standard-deviation move should happen about once every 390 billion days, or about once in a billion years. So this should be much less frequent. Good news I guess, Switzerland won't be un-pegging its currency for at least another billion years, go ahead and set your Swatch by it.

Irony alert.

FXCM Lobbied Against Leverage Limit Before Franc Trades Went Bad - Bloomberg

FXCM Inc. (FXCM), the brokerage facing a shortfall of nearly a quarter-billion dollars after highly-leveraged investors made losing bets on the Swiss franc, pushed back against U.S. regulatory efforts that likely would have left it less vulnerable.

In 2010, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission sought to force individual investors trading currencies to give their broker 10 cents in capital to back every $1 in positions. The regulator failed to accomplish that amid pressure from New York -based FXCM and other brokers, meaning only 2 cents must be pledged.

The agency’s proposal would “have a devastating impact on the retail forex industry,” Drew Niv, FXCM’s chief executive officer, wrote in a March 2010 letter to the CFTC that was signed by eight other executives at currency dealers. The industry relies on “electronic systems” to liquidate customer trades and protect against “currency fluctuations in the market,” they said in the letter, which is posted on the CFTC’s website.

Hey, the colo fees are an arm and a leg! Speaking of which, I owe a tile. Just as soon as I find the right graphic.

Pick one.

mary chung cambridge ma menu - Google Search

Broker reassurances about Swiss exposure may be the smoke that leads to a fire sale - MarketWatch 

• Gain Capital GCAP, +3.85% released two statements, to hammer home the point that not only does it remain “well capitalized” and “financially sound” but it actually generated a profit from the franc’s move. The shares rose 2.2%.

Well there's one winner.

Edit JP Shakes Tiny Fist of Fury must be co-located with wherever kcoop's servers are.


"So if you have no leverage, nobody would trade" 

Because OTC trading isn’t done on an exchange, the forex broker becomes the client’s counterparty, taking the other side of the transaction. If an investor wagers the yen will rise, the broker bets it will fall.

Sometimes the broker keeps the trade on its own books, sometimes it matches the trade with that of another customer who’s speculating in the opposite direction, and sometimes the broker lays off risk by hedging with a bank.

The CFTC, which refers to brokers as dealers, requires them to tell clients in disclosures, all in capital letters: “YOUR DEALER IS YOUR TRADING PARTNER, WHICH IS A DIRECT CONFLICT OF INTEREST. WHEN YOU SELL, THE DEALER IS THE BUYER. WHEN YOU BUY, THE DEALER IS THE SELLER.”

The risks of stop losses
Swiss mix up, fxcm stops not executed, thousands of pips in slippage

Yes, well when your counter-party is your broker they might not be inclined to give you a fill that's gone against them. Hoocoodanode?

"So if you have no leverage, nobody would trade"

When I first read that quote I LOL'd.

The irony...

That's just one of many stories. On a single platform, hundreds of millions lost by retail currency speculators and gained by... ?
Perhaps there's a lesson in there somewhere.

The winners ain't talking.

End to euro cap on Swiss franc ensnares brokers -

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email to buy additional rights. End to euro cap on Swiss franc ensnares brokers -

Brokers in New York, London, Europe and New Zealand issued a steady stream of warnings, with the UK’s Alpari entering insolvency. In New York, investment bank Jefferies was exploring a rescue of FXCM after the New York-based currency broker announced it may be in breach of capital requirements. Citigroup is the largest prime broker to FXCM, with potentially tens of millions of dollars of credit extended to the struggling company.

Overall, Citi has incurred a $150m loss as a result of the Swiss franc’s appreciation, on a par with losses at Deutsche Bank. Barclays has lost close to $50m, traders said. All the banks declined to comment.

Lever up bitchez!

FX broker FXCM talks to Jefferies about possible rescue deal -sources - Yahoo Finance

In a note to clients, Sandler O'Neill analyst Richard Repetto wrote, "we've been informed that FXCM offered clients leverage of 50x (often the standard in the U.K.) for EUR/CHF (euro-Swiss franc) trades."

"We believe this high leverage combined with the unique (black swan-like) event of the floating of the Swiss franc currency contributed to the steep customer losses at FXCM," he wrote.

When you read articles about how much money was "lost" because of the SNB move, remember that every penny lost by one person was gained by someone else. Currency speculation is as zero-sum as it gets.
I am a little surprised nobody is asking aloud whether the SNB Governing Board had any personal interest at stake.

Margin Call Of Cthulhu on line 1...

FXCM Said to Be in Talks With Jefferies for $200M Rescue: Video - Bloomberg

I live in the region Oberaargau, Kanton Bern.
We'll get over the shock. The peg was a dumb idea in the first place. Good riddance!

The retailers just across the border in Germany must be quite happy.

Good morning early birds. Friendly reminder that you can still participate in the prediction poll for the low yield on the US 10 Yr TSY bond for the balance of 2015.

Polling will close in about an hour.

What will the lowest yield on the US 10 Year Treasury be during the balance of 2015? | Hoocoodanode?

Remember to vote early and vote often!

The margin call of Cthulhu rides again...

Casualties From Swiss Shock Spread From New York to New Zealand - Bloomberg

FXCM Inc., which handled a record $1.4 trillion of trades by individuals last quarter, said clients owe $225 million on their accounts after the Swiss National Bank’s decision to abandon the franc’s cap against the euro roiled markets worldwide. Global Brokers NZ Ltd. said losses from the franc’s surge are forcing it to shut down. IG Group Holdings Plc estimated an impact of as much as 30 million British pounds ($45.5 million) and Swissquote Group Holdings SA set aside 25 million francs ($28.4 million).

The market turmoil turned the $1.9 billion John Hancock Absolute Return Currency Fund into the biggest loser among U.S. peers. It tumbled 8.7 percent yesterday, the steepest drop on record and the most among more than 2,000 U.S.-domiciled funds tracked by Bloomberg with at least $1 billion under management. The fund had its second-biggest short position in the franc at the end of November, according to the latest fact sheet on John Hancock’s website.

Got some GTE from the 70's. Easy way out is leave it for the kids to figure it out.

That's what I told them! Actually upon death the recipient gets a new basis as of the date of death so its actually one way of dealing with it.

The really troublesome part is dealing with taxes. Just try to figure out your basis in some stock that has has two name changes, several splits, and a spin-off or two since since you bought it.

My parents received AT&T as a wedding gift in the 60's and reinvested dividends. And did the same with all that came from the split up into the baby bells.

I told them they were on their own in figuring out the basis if they ever decide to sell any.

Just a quick reminder. The prediction poll on what the low yield on the US 10 yr TSY is open until 9:30am NYT tomorrow.

Remember to vote early and vote often!!

What will the lowest yield on the US 10 Year Treasury be during the balance of 2015? | Hoocoodanode?

1.73% yield after today's spin of the roulette wheel.

One unknown knock-on from the increase in the Swiss Franc is that mortgages denominated in Francs weren't uncommon in many Central European countries ("cheaper" borrowing costs).
Not something I have any up-to-date information, but if you owned property in Austria or the Czech Republic with a mortgage in CHF, your mortgage just increased by at least 15%.
If these mortgages are still widespread, it will leave a mark.

Polish Banks Slide With Zloty as Swiss Franc-Mortgage Costs Jump - Bloomberg 

The situation is more precarious in Poland since that switch is less advanced. Lenders had 131 billion zloty ($35 billion) of Swiss-franc mortgages on their books as of the end of November, 46 percent of total home loans, according to data from the country’s financial-market supervisor.

Iron Ore Forecasts Cut by UBS on Supply Growth and Oil Rout - Bloomberg

UBS is also in other news today.

UBS Hit With Record Dark Pool Fine for Breaking U.S. Rules - Bloomberg

In ordering UBS to pay $14.4 million, including a $12 million fine that exceeds all prior penalties against an alternative trading system, the Securities and Exchange Commission flagged a series of violations from 2008 to 2012. It said UBS let customers submit orders at prices denominated in increments smaller than a penny, something SEC rules prohibit because it can be used to get a better place in line when buying or selling stock.

More here | SEC Charges UBS Subsidiary With Disclosure Violations and Other Regulatory Failures in Operating Dark Pool

An SEC examination and investigation of UBS revealed that the firm failed to properly disclose to all subscribers the existence of an order type that it pitched almost exclusively to market makers and high-frequency trading firms. The order type, called PrimaryPegPlus (PPP), enabled certain subscribers to buy and sell securities by placing orders priced in increments of less than one cent. However, UBS was prohibited under Regulation NMS from accepting orders at those prices. By doing so the firm enabled users of the PPP order type to place sub-penny-priced orders that jumped ahead of other orders submitted at legal, whole-penny prices.

Furthermore, the SEC investigation found that UBS similarly failed to disclose to all subscribers a “natural-only crossing restriction” developed to ensure that select orders would not execute against orders placed by market makers and high-frequency trading firms. This shield was only available to benefit orders placed using UBS algorithms, which are automated trading strategies. UBS did not disclose the existence of this feature to all subscribers until approximately 30 months after it was launched.

“The UBS dark pool was not a level playing field for all customers and did not operate as advertised,” said Andrew J. Ceresney, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “Our action shows our continued commitment to policing the equity markets to ensure fairness and compliance with all laws and rules.”