Tag Archives: Stonks

SEC Refuses to Address Massive Fraud in Markets

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) just released its top enforcement priorities for the year. Rather than dig into systemic fraud in our markets, they’ll be regulating….confetti?


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According to a report out this morning on Reuters, the SEC will be focusing on:

”…behavioral prompts, differential marketing, game-like features…and other design elements or features designed to engage with retail investors on digital platforms.”

In plain English, they’re talking about the confetti some stock trading apps display when you make a trade. But that’s not all.

The SEC will also be regulating how funds can use certain words:

…funds with keywords such as “green,” “sustainable,” “ethical,” or “socially responsible” in their names will have to reflect an emphasis on these areas through their investing choices.

As if investors couldn’t simply look at the holdings and see if Exxon Mobil is there or not!

Combatting widespread financial fraud is nowhere in the SEC’s agenda.

Illegal naked short selling pervades our markets. Millions upon millions of trades fail to clear each day, especially in heavily shorted stocks like AMC Entertainment Holdings and GameStop.

But the SEC won’t be looking into that.

Despite $8 billion in losses on FTX, cryptocurrency regulation won’t be a focus for the SEC this year either. Why bother with that when the SEC could be requiring “a summary of registrants’ human capital resources,” whatever that is?

It’s no wonder author Jesse Eisinger called the feds “the chickensh*t club.”

The SEC is a toothless regulator. It busies itself with make-work, avoiding the real issues plaguing our markets.

Gary Gensler and the SEC need to start going after the real criminals.

What do you think of SEC enforcement? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on markets:

Major Hedge Fund Down 54% — Survival in Doubt

Short Sellers Down $81 Billion in 2023

Citadel’s Illegal Trades — The Tip of the Iceberg?

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Short Sellers Down $81 Billion in 2023

Well, that was fast! With 2023 less than a month old, short sellers have already lost $81 billion.


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Many are running for the exits. From a new report from The Wall Street Journal:

Short sellers who have incurred hefty losses are actively trimming their positions, said Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director of predictive analytics at S3 Partners. Investors betting against stocks have racked up $81 billion of mark-to-market losses on short positions this month through Thursday after accumulating $300 billion in gains in 2022, Mr. Dusaniwsky said.

Markets have rallied this year, with meme stocks leading the way. As short sellers race to close their positions, their losses are likely to grow:

Signs that inflation is cooling have stoked bets among investors that the Federal Reserve will pivot from raising interest rates to cutting them as soon as the second half of the year. That has helped risky assets across the board rise. Especially risky corners of the market, such as stocks with high short interest, have rallied even more. Analysts say that has likely forced short sellers to close out bearish positions to cut their losses—resulting in what is known on Wall Street as a short squeeze. 

Some of the most heavily shorted stocks have been among the best performers so far this year.

Meme stocks like AMC Entertainment Holdings, GameStop, and Bed Bath & Beyond are all up over 20%. The broader S&P 500 is up 6% for the year so far.

In addition to huge market losses, short sellers are also paying stratospheric interest rates to borrow shares. Rates to borrow AMC shares have ranged between 20% and over 100% per year in recent weeks.

It’s no wonder that some short sellers may be resorting to illegal tactics. There is evidence of widespread naked short selling in some heavily shorted stocks.

Common and preferred shares of AMC have seen millions of fails to deliver. These failed trades often occur when a short seller sells stock without borrowing it.

This is called naked short selling and it’s illegal under federal law. It’s also a powerful way to push down a stock’s price without paying any interest.

The coming months could push many short sellers to the brink.

A race to close out positions may cause heavily shorted stocks to rally further. Meanwhile, a more dovish Fed could cause a general market rally, adding to their losses.

Short sellers should avoid meme stocks like the plague. A heavily shorted stock with a passionate fan base is simply too hot to handle.

What do you think is next for short sellers? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on markets:

Major Hedge Fund Down 54% — Survival in Doubt

Citadel’s Illegal Trades — The Tip of the Iceberg?

As Fed Rates Peak, Are Markets Ready to Take Off?

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Citadel’s Illegal Trades — The Tip of the Iceberg?

South Korea has fined Citadel Securities for illegal stock trades made with high frequency algorithms. From a report out last night in Reuters:


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South Korea’s financial regulator has imposed a fine of 11.88 billion won ($9.66 million) on U.S.-based Citadel Securities, saying it disturbed the local stock market with high-frequency algorithm trading.

The Financial Services Commission (FSC) said in a statement released on Thursday the firm had distorted stock prices with artificial factors, such as orders on the condition of “immediate or cancel” and by filling gaps in bid prices.

These illegal trades were no isolated incident. Regulators found improper trades in thousands of stocks over a period of nearly a year:

The firm carried out such trading on an average of 1,422 stocks per day from Oct. 2017 to May 2018, totalling more than 500 billion won worth of trades, according to the statement.

Citadel’s illegal trades stand out as some of the most egregious ever in South Korea:

The Commission said it was the first time it had imposed fines on such high-frequency trading on the South Korean stock market, which has a high proportion of retail investors and little competition among algorithmic traders.


Citadel used strategies such as flash orders to gain an illegal advantage over other traders. This practice involves offering to buy or sell and then retracting the order in a fraction of a second.

Flash orders let you see the prices at which other traders are willing to buy or sell. This gives you an illegal edge over your competition.

In Korea, Citadel used these strategies to take advantage of mom and pop retail traders, which I find particularly heinous.

Citadel’s algos don’t stop in Korea.

The firm was recently fined by the US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for frontrunning its customers. By placing trades ahead of customers, Citadel made money for its own account.

Breaking the law appears to be quite lucrative for Citadel.

Citadel Securities posted record revenues of $7.5 billion last year. Citadel’s hedge fund made even more, approximately $28 billion.

I think Citadel is using these illegal flash orders all over the world. They may also be using other illicit tactics we don’t know about yet.

After all, if you go to the trouble to create a program that can make you money, why not use it in as many places as possible?

The reality is that these speeding tickets will never stop Citadel. Fines in the millions are a cost of doing business for a multi-billion dollar operation.

Securities regulators worldwide should find out what exactly Citadel is doing in their markets. If they find more wrongdoing, they should simply ban the firm from trading for a period of years.

Nothing but a severe penalty will stop them.

Who says crime doesn’t pay?

What do you think is the future for Citadel? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on markets:

Major Hedge Fund Down 54% — Survival in Doubt

Tiger Global Losing $185 Million a Day

As Fed Rates Peak, Are Markets Ready to Take Off?

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As Fed Rates Peak, Are Markets Ready to Take Off?

In 2022, the Fed tightened its vice grip until we squealed. But as interest rates peak this year, markets are in a position for serious growth.


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It stands to reason: if someone is hitting you with a stick, the pain diminishes when they stop hitting you. To confirm this, I looked at four periods of peak interest rates from 1981 to today.

In most cases, markets jumped significantly within a year after the federal funds rate peaked.

Let’s dig into some examples….

Paul Volcker’s Hammer

Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker took interest rates to eyewatering levels in 1981. They peaked at 19% that summer, a far cry from today’s 4.5%.

Markets continued to fall for about a year.

But then, something amazing happened. Volcker crushed inflation and stocks rocketed upward for almost 20 years.

A Stake Through Inflation’s Heart

Like the undead, inflation rose again in 1989. Volcker pushed rates back up to 10% by April, ramming a stake through its cold, black heart.

Markets jumped shortly after, rising about 16% in the next year.

The Go-Go 90’s

After falling to a low of 3% in 1993, the Fed hiked rates to a peak of 6% in the spring of 1995. Chairman Alan Greenspan aimed to cool a red-hot economy and prevent inflation.

Markets ignored him. Stocks went vertical, more than doubling in 4 years.

The Financial Crisis

By the mid-2000’s, the real estate market was out of control. The Federal Reserve took rates from a rock-bottom 1% to 5% by the summer of 2007.

This time, it really was different.

There was no quick rebound even as the Fed took rates to zero. In fact, it took over 5 years for stocks to recover from the financial crisis.

The financial crisis stands out as the worst since the Great Depression. Last year’s S&P 500 return of -18% doesn’t compare to the Great Recession’s -48% bloodbath.

In all, once rates peak, we usually see markets begin to climb in 12 months or less.

As companies look at a future of stable or declining rates, they’re more comfortable borrowing money and making investments. If rates peak mid-year as analysts project, I expect to see markets jump by the end of 2023.

What do you think 2023 holds for markets? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on markets:

Tiger Global Losing $185 Million a Day

Is SBF Laundering Money As We Speak?

Why Crypto is Still Massively Overvalued

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New Report: AMC Fails to Deliver Hit 4.3 Million

Fails to deliver in shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings reached extraordinary levels in November. 4.3 million shares have failed to clear by November 14th, the latest data available.


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This new report, out today from the SEC, shows the highest levels of fails to deliver in months. This is particularly striking given the much lower fails to deliver in the largest stocks.

Let’s see how many fails to deliver some of the largest stocks in the market had on November 14th:

Amazon: 253

Apple: 0

Google: 0

Microsoft: 11,553

These companies are hundreds of times larger than AMC. But somehow, a little theater chain dwarfs them all in failed stock trades.

Fails to deliver can happen for benign reasons. But a long and persistent pattern of fails to deliver, as in AMC stock, can point to something more nefarious.

Huge numbers of failed trades can indicate naked short selling. This is the illegal practice of selling short shares you never borrowed.

It’s a potent way to crush a stock’s price. After all, if you don’t have to borrow a stock, you can sell short all you want!

Increasing failed trades may be related to higher borrowing costs for AMC shares. With fees going from 20% to up to 100% a year, borrowing shares is more expensive than ever.

It’s a lot cheaper to naked short sell. Unfortunately, it’s also against the law.

I urge the SEC to investigate the long term pattern of chaos in AMC shares. Only a full investigation can restore confidence in markets.

What do you think of this huge fails to deliver number? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

Today is the blog’s second birthday! Thank you guys for a great two years! 🙏

There’s a lot more to come!

More on markets:

Tiger Global Losing $185 Million a Day

Hedge Funds Lose Billions as FTX Implodes

Is SBF Headed to Prison?

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New Report: Millions of Fails to Deliver in AMC and APE Shares

Fails to deliver in shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings reached the millions in the first half of September. The chaos hit both AMC and AMC Preferred Equity (APE) shares, according to a new report out today from the SEC.


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APE fails to deliver peaked at 2.4 million shares on September 1st. AMC fails to deliver peaked a week later on September 8th, at 2.2 million shares.

AMC shares have had large and persistent fails to deliver for over a year. It’s telling that as soon as APE shares were issued, huge fails to deliver appeared there as well.

Meanwhile, much larger companies continue to have almost no trades failing. Let’s take a look at fails to deliver in a few major stocks on Sept 1st:

Amazon: 0

Apple: 5,679

Microsoft: 0

Tesla: 14,727

APE: 2,366,422

And again a week later:

Amazon: 17,603

Apple: 523,020

Microsoft: 179

Tesla: 10,561

AMC: 2,164,802

Fails to deliver in AMC and APE are dramatically larger than in much bigger companies. Why are these shares in constant chaos while other companies are unaffected?

I suspect it’s because of naked short selling by hedge funds. This illegal practice involves selling short shares you never borrowed.

It’s a powerful weapon to crush a stock. If you never have to find shares to borrow, you can sell short any amount!

This can reach absurd levels. In August, we saw fails to deliver in APE shares exceed the entire daily trading volume.

The SEC must investigate what’s going on in AMC and APE shares. Until they do, it’s hard to believe the prices we see are real.

What do you think of the huge number of failed trades in these shares? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! 👋

More on markets:

Over 43 Million APE Shares Fail to Deliver — Market in Chaos

Hedge Fund Manager’s Arrest Shows How Market Manipulation Works

Morgan Stanley Investigation Spreads to Multiple Countries

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Over 43 Million APE Shares Fail to Deliver — Market in Chaos

The market in AMC Entertainment Holdings Preferred Equity (APE) shares is a mess. Fails to deliver (FTDs) peaked at over 43 million shares last month, according to a report just out from the SEC.


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These new shares were issued last month by AMC and began trading on August 22. FTDs peaked at 43,438,257 shares two days later.

This represents over 8% of all shares outstanding. And it all happened in 3 days!

FTDs like this is beyond a mix-up. It’s a total market meltdown.

FTDs remained elevated through the end of the August reporting period. They settled at 5,635,854 on August 31, the last data available.

Let’s compare the FTDs on August 24th in APE shares with those of some of the biggest stocks in the market:

Amazon: 0

Apple: 395,929

Google: 113

Microsoft: 0

Tesla: 530

APE: 43,438,257

APE shares have dramatically more FTD’s than other, much larger stocks.

FTDs can sometimes happen for benign reasons, like clerical errors. But when there’s a sustained pattern of massive trade failures, it often indicates naked short selling.

This generally illegal practice involves selling short shares without borrowing them first. It’s a powerful way to push down a stock’s price.

If you don’t have to find shares to borrow or pay interest, you can sell short as many shares as you like! All that selling makes a stock’s price crater.

If naked short sellers are targeting APE, so far they seem to be winning. The stock is down 43% since its debut.

The NYSE and SEC must look into this market breakdown immediately. One in three trades failing is not a functional market.

What do you think of the huge FTD numbers in APE shares? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

Have a great weekend everyone!

More on markets:

AMC Fails to Deliver Pass 700,000 in New Report

Hedge Fund Manager’s Arrest Shows How Market Manipulation Works

Morgan Stanley Investigation Spreads to Multiple Countries

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New Index Will Drive Demand for AMC, Other Meme Stocks

Note: This is not financial advice.

Robinhood Markets is launching a new index fund to track meme stocks. From a report that broke this morning in The Wall Street Journal:


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Robinhood Markets is launching an index to track the favorite stocks of its millions of predominantly young, social-media-savvy customers.

The brokerage firm’s new “Robinhood Investor Index” will track the performance of the 100 investments most popular among its user base. Initially, the top five stocks in the index will be Tesla , Apple, Amazon.com, Ford Motor and meme-stock favorite AMC Entertainment Holdings. Robinhood said it would update the composition of the index monthly, offering a view into its customers’ changing tastes.

In an unusual approach to constructing an index, Robinhood said it would weight stocks in the index by the “conviction” customers have in them, defined as the percentage of assets in a customer’s portfolio devoted to a particular stock.

The new index will increase demand for meme stocks, especially those weighted heavily like AMC and Tesla.

When a stock is included in an index like the S&P 500 for the first time, the price generally jumps. This is because so many index funds track the S&P 500.

When a stock is added to it, those funds must buy the stock. Similarly, when investors buy shares of the new Robinhood index, Robinhood must buy stocks like Tesla, AMC, etc.

This increases demand for those stocks.

Indeed, a McKinsey study found that stocks added to the S&P 500 jumped a median of 5%. But the increase was short-lived, disappearing in just 20 days on average.

The effect of inclusion in the Robinhood index is likely to be more modest, given that $5.4 trillion tracks the S&P and the Robinhood index is just getting off the ground. Still, I expect a modest tailwind for meme stocks from this change.

The Robinhood index is an interesting approach. It allows investors to profit from the “wisdom of the crowd,” following investors who have strong conviction about particular stocks.

If an investor is confident enough to put their entire portfolio into a single stock, maybe they know something I don’t.

I’ll be curious to see how the Robinhood index does against other index funds. And you can bet every broker is rushing to create a meme index as we speak.

What do you think of Robinhood’s new meme stock index fund? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

Have a great weekend everybody! 👋

More on markets:

AMC Fails to Deliver Pass 700,000 in New Report

Morgan Stanley Investigation Spreads to Multiple Countries

Hedge Fund Manager’s Arrest Shows How Market Manipulation Works

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AMC Fails to Deliver Pass 2.6 Million in New Report

I did a double-take when I saw the number.

Fails to deliver in shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. passed 2.6 million in June. The report, released today by the Securities and Exchange Commission, covers the first half of the month.

Fails to deliver hit 2,653,787 on June 3 before settling at 1,231,742 at the end of the reporting period. Fails to deliver topped 1 million numerous times.


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I’ve been writing about this topic for about a year, and I can’t recall ever seeing a figure so massive. This despite a long history of large fails to deliver in this stock.

AMC’s fails to deliver are way out of line with other stocks. Here are the numbers on the same day for several companies dramatically larger than AMC:

Amazon: 0
Microsoft: 0
Tesla: 24,983

But let’s back up a second: what is a fail to deliver? A fail to deliver occurs when a trade is made but is never finalized.

Now why might a stock like AMC have a pattern of large and persistent fails to deliver? A common reason is naked short selling.

To sell a stock short, you must borrow shares and sell them. Naked shorting is the generally illegal practice of selling short shares you never borrowed.

This is a powerful way to push down a stock’s price.

If you naked short, there’s no limit to the number of shares you can short. After all, you never had to find any to borrow!

Huge numbers of trades have failed in this stock for at least a year. Despite this, the SEC has not investigated these irregularities.

I keep coming back to this topic because I’m amazed at the inaction. Why not find out why the market in this stock is functioning so poorly?

I hope exchanges and regulators dive into this topic right away. We need orderly and fair capital markets for our country to thrive.

What do you think is causing these failed trades? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know.

More on markets:

Hedge Fund Giant Tiger Global Losing $28 Million an Hour

$6B Hedge Fund Cut Off from Trading As Investigation Looms

Hedge Funds Could Lose Nearly Half of Assets Under Proposed SEC Rule

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AMC Fails to Deliver Surge Past 500,000

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Fails to deliver in shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. surged in February, reaching over 500,000 in the latest data released yesterday by the SEC.

This compares to nearly 200,000 shares that failed to clear in the last report two weeks ago, itself a very high number.

AMC’s fails to deliver are completely out of line when compared with other stocks. Let’s look at the fails to deliver for some of the biggest stocks in the market at the end of the latest report:

Alphabet Inc: 0

Apple Inc: 21,410

Amazon.com Inc: 4,000

Microsoft Corp: 328,810

Tesla Inc: 143

Keep in mind that these stocks have market caps orders of magnitude larger than AMC’s.

And yet, this little theater company has more failed trades than all of them. Combined.

Why are so many trades failing? Sometimes trades fail for benign reasons, like clerical errors.

But when a stock has a prolonged pattern of huge fails to deliver, it often indicates naked short selling. This mostly illegal practice involves selling short shares you never borrowed.

The trade can’t clear because the shares never existed in the first place. And you can short an unlimited amount because you need not find shares to borrow.

This is a powerful way to push down a stock’s price.

I strongly suspect illegal naked shorting by hedge funds in AMC. But with the FBI and SEC circling, they’d better be careful.

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More on markets:

FBI Raids Short Sellers

Melvin Capital Under Federal Investigation

How Solana Could Wipe Out Visa and MasterCard

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