Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Stock Markets and the History Chart of the End of the World (With Presidential Cycles) - 28th Aug 20
2.Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook... AI Tech Stocks Buying Levels and Valuations Q3 2020 - 31st Aug 20
3.The Inflation Mega-trend is Going Hyper! - 11th Sep 20
4.Is this the End of Capitalism? - 13th Sep 20
5.What's Driving Gold, Silver and What's Next? - 3rd Sep 20
6.QE4EVER! - 9th Sep 20
7.Gold Price Trend Forecast Analysis - Part1 - 7th Sep 20
8.The Fed May “Cause” The Next Stock Market Crash - 3rd Sep 20
9.Bitcoin Price Crash - You Will be Suprised What Happens Next - 7th Sep 20
10.NVIDIA Stock Price Soars on RTX 3000 Cornering the GPU Market for next 2 years! - 3rd Sep 20
Last 7 days
Still More Room To Stock Market Downside In The Coming Weeks - 23rd Sep 20
Platinum And Palladium Set To Surge As Gold Breaks Higher - 23rd Sep 20
Key Gold Ratios to Other Markets - 23rd Sep 20
Watch Before Upgrading / Buying RTX 3000, RDNA2 - CPU vs GPU Bottlenecks - 23rd Sep 20
Online Elliott Wave Markets Trading Course Worth $129 for FREE! - 22nd Sep 20
Gold Price Overboughtness Risk - 22nd Sep 20
Central Banking Cartel Promises ZIRP Until at Least 2023 - 22nd Sep 20
Stock Market Correction Approaching Initial Objective - 22nd Sep 20
Silver Bulls Will Be Handsomely Rewarded - 21st Sep 20
Fed Will Not Hike Rates For Years. Gold Should Like It - 21st Sep 20
US Financial Market Forecasts and Elliott Wave Analysis Resources - 21st Sep 20
How to Avoid Currency Exchange Risk during COVID - 21st Sep 20
Crude Oil – A Slight Move Higher Has Not Reversed The Bearish Trend - 20th Sep 20
Do This Instead Of Trying To Find The “Next Amazon” - 20th Sep 20
5 Significant Benefits of the MT4 Trading Platform for Forex Traders - 20th Sep 20
A Warning of Economic Collapse - 20th Sep 20
The Connection Between Stocks and the Economy is not What Most Investors Think - 19th Sep 20
A Virus So Deadly, The Government Has to Test You to See If You Have It - 19th Sep 20
Will Lagarde and Mnuchin Push Gold Higher? - 19th Sep 20
RTX 3080 Mania, Ebay Scalpers Crazy Prices £62,000 Trollers Insane Bids for a £649 GPU! - 19th Sep 20
A Greater Economic Depression For The 21st Century - 19th Sep 20
The United Floor in Stocks - 19th Sep 20
Mobile Gaming Market Trends And The Expected Future Developments - 19th Sep 20
The S&P 500 appears ready to correct, and that is a good thing - 18th Sep 20
It’s Go Time for Gold Price! Next Stop $2,250 - 18th Sep 20
Forget AMD RDNA2 and Buy Nvidia RTX 3080 FE GPU's NOW Before Price - 18th Sep 20
Best Back to School / University Black Face Masks Quick and Easy from Amazon - 18th Sep 20
3 Types of Loans to Buy an Existing Business - 18th Sep 20
How to tell Budgie Gender, Male or Female Sex for Young and Mature Parakeets - 18th Sep 20
Fasten Your Seatbelts Stock Market Make Or Break – Big Trends Ahead - 17th Sep 20
Peak Financialism And Post-Capitalist Economics - 17th Sep 20
Challenges of Working from Home - 17th Sep 20
Sheffield Heading for Coronavirus Lockdown as Covid Deaths Pass 432 - 17th Sep 20
What Does this Valuable Gold Miners Indicator Say Now? - 16th Sep 20
President Trump and Crimes Against Humanity - 16th Sep 20
Slow Economic Recovery from CoronaVirus Unlikely to Impede Strong Demand for Metals - 16th Sep 20
Why the Knives Are Out for Trump’s Fed Critic Judy Shelton - 16th Sep 20
Operation Moonshot: Get Ready for Millions of New COVAIDS Positives in the UK! - 16th Sep 20
Stock Market Approaching Correction Objective - 15th Sep 20
Look at This Big Reminder of Dot.com Stock Market Mania - 15th Sep 20
Three Key Principles for Successful Disruption Investors - 15th Sep 20
Billionaire Hedge Fund Manager Warns of 10% Inflation - 15th Sep 20
Gold Price Reaches $2,000 Amid Dollar Depreciation - 15th Sep 20
GLD, IAU Big Gold ETF Buying MIA - 14th Sep 20
Why Bill Gates Is Betting Millions on Synthetic Biology - 14th Sep 20
Stock Market SPY Expectations For The Rest Of September - 14th Sep 20
Gold Price Gann Angle Update - 14th Sep 20
Stock Market Recovery from the Sharp Correction Goes On - 14th Sep 20
Is this the End of Capitalism? - 13th Sep 20
The Silver Big Prize - 13th Sep 20
U.S. Shares Plunged. Is Gold Next? - 13th Sep 20
Why Are 7,500 Oil Barrels Floating on this London Lake? - 13th Sep 20
Sheffield 432 Covid-19 Deaths, Last City Centre Shop Before Next Lockdown - 13th Sep 20
Biden or Trump Will Keep The Money Spigots Open - 13th Sep 20
Gold And Silver Up, Down, Sideways, Up - 13th Sep 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Get Rich Investing in Stocks by Riding the Electron Wave

Wall Street's Rigged Casino

Stock-Markets / Market Manipulation Jan 13, 2009 - 09:15 AM GMT

By: Jennifer_Barry

Stock-Markets Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleLast year was certainly a turbulent one for investors. Not only did good assets and companies sell off with bad, but the very integrity of the U.S. markets was brought into question. Financial firms spend millions of dollars convincing the average citizen that investing in stocks is necessary and prudent, yet the playing field is far from level. Fraud, naked shorting and other forms of manipulation are now endemic to the American markets. As Overstock's lawyer, John O'Quinn points out, “You have more chance to be treated fairly in a casino in Vegas.” How can you invest if you can't trust the system?


Jim Puplava, Mike Schneider and a few other journalists have exposed the prevalence of naked shorting on Wall Street. While selling short is a legitimate activity, naked shorting occurs when parties sell shares they don't own and don't intend to borrow, causing more shares to be traded than actually exist. Approximately 7.5% of the trades reported by the DTCC fail to deliver each day, and this agency is private and not at all transparent. Furthermore, 96% of all stock transactions are completed outside the official system and are totally unregulated.

Regulation SHO was enacted in 2005 by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to supposedly eliminate chronic settlement failures by forcing brokers to close out positions after thirteen consecutive trading days. However the regulation doesn't cover small and micro cap companies, or failures to deliver (FTDs) that are below a certain numerical threshold. Market makers were exempt from this regulation until last fall, and old FTDs were allowed to remain open. Some corporations remained on the threshold list for over a year consecutively with no relief from the SEC.

Chairman Cox admitted in July 2006 that there were many large loopholes in Regulation SHO which allowed predatory shorting to continue. Few firms were investigated, and even those brokers who were caught paid minimal fines. Almost nothing was done until naked shorting threatened “the stability of financial institutions,” according to Cox. In July 2008, the SEC banned naked shorting of 19 select financial firms. With this rule and the subsequent emergency order banning all short selling in 799 financial institutions, Cox admitted that naked shorting was a serious problem, but the SEC would only enforce the rules for certain institutions that deserved the effort.

The Commission has demonstrated where its real allegiance lies, and it's not with the small investor. For years, hedge funds, brokerages, and investment banks soaked up fat profits by naked shorting promising companies to death. These shorts never have to be covered if the company is delisted and goes bankrupt, so it's a very lucrative criminal practice. When some of these same corporations that preyed on small cap stocks suffered share price drops due to their hideous balance sheets, the SEC moved in to give them special protection.

Even with some of the loopholes closed, market manipulation still goes on. As Allan Young points out on his website, naked shorting is in effect another derivative like credit default swaps or mortgage backed securities. Predatory brokers can sell more shares than exist, as if they are buying a put (a bet that prices will go down). Sell enough shares and you can ensure your bet is correct. These brokers can later close out their naked shorts and avoid censure from the SEC.

Although the most egregious violations of the naked short rules have been eliminated, with corporations like Overstock now off the naked short list, much of the damage has already been done. Many solid businesses have been naked shorted out of existence, leading to unemployment and destruction of wealth for millions of taxpayers. U.S. citizens are angry and scared as they watch their stock portfolios shrink, and see their pensions in jeopardy.

This begs the question as to why the U.S. government would prop the markets up on one hand using the Plunge Protection Team, while allowing naked shorting on the other which pushes the share prices down. I can only conclude that the system is designed to redistribute wealth from small investors to elite bankers and hedge fund managers. Perhaps the stock markets were allowed to decline so the politically connected shorts could cover profitably. With the close relationship between Wall Street, regulators, Congress, and the Treasury Department full of former Goldman Sachs executives, it's clear that the average worker with retirement money invested in the market is at an extreme disadvantage.

The SEC suffered another embarassment with the revelation that Bernard Madoff ran a US$50 billion Ponzi scheme disguised as a hedge fund for several years. Only a tip from Madoff's sons to the FBI unraveled the scheme. In fact, the SEC investigated Madoff's company eight times over more than a decade and failed to find any fraud. A former SEC attorney is now married to Madoff's niece, raising doubts about his objectivity in examining Madoff's books. Even when Harry Markopoulos, a private whistleblower, produced evidence that Madoff's trading results could not be replicated, no one at the SEC took him seriously.

Congress has been quick to blame Commissioner Cox, a former colleague for the Madoff scandal. However, missteps and inadequate enforcement predate Cox, who has only run the SEC since August 2005.

Obama's pick to replace Cox, Mary Schapiro has many flaws of her own. She previously appointed one of Madoff's sons to a disciplinary board, making her judgement look very poor. Schapiro is currently chief of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a self regulating body which has been even less willing than usual to crack down on Wall Street abuses during her tenure. She ran the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) under President Clinton, an agency that has been unable or unwilling to perceive the manipulation in the precious metals markets while pursuing collusion in other commodities. Schapiro stated she was inspired to pursue a regulatory career by watching the Hunt brothers' silver moves, so we know where her biases lie.

As an analyst, I spend hours each week poring over balance sheets, and reading financial statements of companies I may want to recommend to my subscribers. My task is made very difficult by the widespread financial fraud. While Madoff's results were too good to be true, other forms of deception are extremely hard to detect. Satyam is the latest scandal to hit Wall Street. Although the corporation is headquartered in India, Satyam has Fortune 500 clients in the U.S. and is listed on the NYSE. It has to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley regulations just like any American company, rules that are supposed to enforce honesty and transparency. Satyam – which is Sanskrit for truth - was awarded the Golden Peacock award for corporate governance just three months ago, in an amazing bit of irony.

With all these scandals, no wonder Merrill Lynch reports that rich customers are demanding gold coins and bars instead of shares in “paper gold” like ETFs. Credible stories indicate that the COMEX warehouses are experiencing record activity as receipt holders seek delivery of their gold. Brokers are apparently attempting to discourage this activity to squelch metal demand. When trust is eroded, people naturally seek safety in an asset without counterparty risk like gold.

If you are a stock investor despite all these perils, how to you separate the wheat from the chaff? First you have to find industries with impeccable fundamentals. While commodities suffered greatly in 2008, I believe they will see a strong rebound in 2009.

Second, check the track record of management and look for any hints of impropriety. Third, read the financial statements and look for unnecessarily complicated structures or conflicts of interest: these are red flags. Fourth, if results seem unbelievably excellent, they may be fictional. Fifth, while you can no longer take delivery of shares in the United States, you can contact the companies you invest in to determine if you are on the list of legitimate shareholders or a victim of naked shorting. Sixth, diversify into several different companies so if one is fraudulent you don't lose all your money. With the danger inherent in stocks, I recommend only investing capital you can afford to lose.

by Jennifer Barry
Global Asset Strategist
http://www.globalassetstrategist.com

Copyright 2009 Jennifer Barry

Hello, I'm Jennifer Barry and I want to help you not only preserve your wealth, but add to your nest egg. How can I do this? I investigate the financial universe for undervalued assets you can invest in. Then I write about them in my monthly newsletter, Global Asset Strategist.

Disclaimer: Precious metals, commodity stocks, futures, and associated investments can be very volatile. Prices may rise and fall quickly and unpredictably. It may take months or years to see a significant profit. The owners and employees of Global Asset Strategist own some or all of the investments profiled in the newsletter, and will benefit from a price increase. We will disclose our ownership position when we recommend an asset and if we sell any investments previously recommended. We don't receive any compensation from companies for profiling any stock. Information published on this website and/or in the newsletter comes from sources thought to be reliable. This information may not be complete or correct. Global Asset Strategist does not employ licensed financial advisors, and does not give investment advice. Suggestions to buy or sell any asset listed are based on the opinions of Jennifer Barry only. Please conduct your own research before making any purchases, and don't spend more than you can afford. We recommend that you consult a trusted financial advisor who understands your individual situation before committing any capital.

Jennifer Barry Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Comments

Richard D.
14 Jan 09, 14:59
The Rigged Casino Is Owned by the Elite

Excellent commentary!

Sadly, the factual information you presented has never made its way into the minds of most Americans; only a small percentage of investors are aware of this. However, some day soon, this "knowledge" will reach critical mass; when it does, the Dow will move inexorably towards 2450.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules