Japan's central bank has been draining liquidity for weeks, reversing the program of quantitative easing it adopted in March Back then, the BOJ rapidly expanded liquidity to fight deflation and avert a big bank failure. The policy took awhile to work, but in February, the bank at last hinted the war on deflation had been won, and quantitative easing would end. Japan's easy-money policy helped foreigners buy higher-returning assets around the world.
Overseas investors rushed into Indonesia, for example, to capture high yields after Indonesia boosted rates to avert inflation. That cut the risk premium for equities and lured even more investors. Subsequently, as rate increases loomed, global investors bailed out of Iceland, New Zealand and, most recently, emerging markets, particularly as the Federal Reserve suggested it would keep raising rates. Early this year Julian Brigden, who runs foreign exchange hedge-fund sales in New York for the Calyon division of Credit Agricole, and Jonas Thulin, Calyon's strategist, discovered an inverse relationship between the VIX -- an index that forecasts day market volatility -- and excess liquidity in Japan.
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An inverse of the VIX index eerily tracked the Bank of Japan's current-account balance, suggesting easy Japanese credit smoothed out global volatility. Since March, they found, the cross-rate of the Brazilian real and the yen also tracked the decline in the current-account balance.
Borrowing in yen to buy Brazilian assets was one of 's favorite macro trades.
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But that program is nearly finished. Some are betting the rate increase could come next month, which could be positive for stocks. Rates are so low that if they [the BOJ] raise them by 10, 20, 25 basis points, people will say, 'I can live with that. To be sure, the BOJ isn't the only factor in the global stock market. Monetary policy has been tightening in many parts of the world for many months. Once the Fed stops tightening, history shows that the best performing sectors are stable growth plays like health care, rather than metals, industrials and other cyclical businesses, McBride adds.
That said, emerging markets, with the exception of India and China, are starting to look cheap, including Korea, the fund manager says. Yes, he knows about the perfect storm too. The Etchells are fast and sleek-looking racing sloops that can be sailed by up to four sailors. Coulson named his sailboat, Honor, a word that resonates on Wall Street. It worked for him.
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In the past five years, Coulson's Honor came in first place in several summer series races hosted by the yacht club on Shelter Island. Coulson and his team will again be at the starting line.
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Sailing Etchells is a team operation. Unlike the America's Cup Races, there is no captain who is totally in command. Three sailors share all the work. The sailor in the front is the driver. He is responsible for maneuvers. Behind him is the middleman, who trims the sails. The sailor at the tail is charged with steering the vessel.
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Unlike some amateur sailors, Coulson never had dreams of Olympian greatness. There is no cash reward for winning the race. If this all sounds like fun to landlubbers, Coulson would advise them to put it all in perspective. It took him twenty days," Coulson said. Of course, it's much better to go to some beautiful place by plane and then charter a boat when you get there. That's exactly what Cromwell and his team plan to do next year in New Zealand.
They are going to buy an Etchell sailboat in neighboring Australia. One priority item will be his firm's baseball cap which is emblazoned with the words Pink Sheets in pink print. Instinet's recent acquisition of direct access broker ProTrader caps a sweeping change in the electronic matchmaker's access strategy. For the past few years, Instinet has been quietly uninstalling its dedicated terminals from traders' desktops. Faced with an explosion in the number of order management systems, direct access applications and other electronic communications networks, Instinet has decided to permit its customers to access its services through intermediaries.
It will no longer require them to connect through Instinet's proprietary software. The move reflects not only the growth in the number of front-ends, but also in electronic trading destinations. Traders want equal access to Instinet's competitors. And those third party front-ends will give it to them. Long the preeminent electronic alternative to Nasdaq for institutions and market makers, Instinet is now, in effect, one of the pack.
It is still the largest, trading million shares per day, but it now splits the market with a couple of dozen alternative trading systems. And its share of that market is declining. Although Instinet's strategy dictates the disappearance of its signature blue screens, it is betting more traders will access Instinet.
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All told, 3, Instinet customers worldwide access the broker via 18, screens. In the U. Nasdaq market makers account for nearly 70 percent of the volume traded on Instinet's limit order book. For years considered a closed system' whose only point of entry was through proprietary software and hardware, Instinet began opening up, circa It started by permitting some of the larger Nasdaq market makers and institutions to integrate its offering into their proprietary OMSs.
In December , it announced it would be accessible through third-party vendors. ProTrader made its fortune offering daytraders and small hedge funds fast access to multiple ECNs. Instinet intends to offer the front-end to hedge funds and other institutional traders.
As the Instinet book will be only one destination on the system, the move adds weight to the ECN's claim of being an "agency broker. However, nearly 80 percent of Instinet's revenues derive from internal matches on its limit order book. Instinet subscribers can access other ECNs today through Instinet's smart order routing' functionality, but analysts do not consider it top drawer technology.
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Even Instinet's Bouhelier admits: "We were faced with the challenge of renewing our technology for some of our client segments. Convincing those clients that ProTrader is right for them won't be a slam dunk for Instinet. Several other ECNs and direct access brokers are already promoting their direct access wares to the buyside.
Direct access brokers are pushing especially hard since the collapse of their core market — the individual Nasdaq traders. It is reportedly building a new front-end. It will soon debut a new front-end built in partnership with TheBeast.
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Island and Archipelago are also targeting the buyside. REDIBook is already popular with hedge funds. If Instinet is bested by the upstarts, its revenues would suffer. They already have strong smart order routing functionality. It's part and parcel of being an ECN. The buyside certainly isn't missing the point. And because of that we don't feel like we are exposed to the whole environment.
Dave Brooks, head trader at the Boston Company Asset Management, also would prefer a single point of access to multiple electronic trading venues. To that end, his desk has been entertaining overtures from Tradescape.
The direct access broker is in the process of integrating with Eze Castle's order management system Traders Console. The Boston Company is a user of Traders Console. Integration with order management systems is essential to Instinet's buyside strategy. Of course that's true for any electronic brokerage hoping to win institutional order flow. An OMS is not a trading system per se.