Thursday, July 1, 2010

"Commodities: Fun while they lasted"

The writer, Heidi Moore, was (very) affectionately known as "Warrior Goddess" when she wrote for the WSJ's Deal Journal. I remembered that when I saw her byline and did a quick Google search for the term.
Lo and behold who came out as the #1 result, beating out even the Journal's MarketBeat!
[simple pleasures... -ed]
From Fortune:
A trader who drunkenly knocked the oil market for a loop has been banned.  He was tanked - what's everyone else's excuse?

If the markets were a TV sitcom -- and really, they're heading that way -- the episode in which a drunk trader mistakenly bought millions of barrels of oil and raised the price of gas would certainly be the moment at which the whole show jumped the shark.

Consider the commodities shark fully jumped, as the world learned that the UK's Financial Services Authority fined and banned former commodities trader Steven Noel Perkins for getting drunk one day in January 2009 and wreaking havoc on the oil market for a drunken trade. Perkins' firm lost £6 million.

Perkins, however, at least had the excuse that he was drunk. Many other commodities investors in the second quarter didn't. Almost all commodity prices have fallen. Oil prices fell 9%, zinc fell 25%, copper and aluminum are both down and wheat is also weaker. Those commodities that aren't really suffering -- including corn and soybeans -- are experiencing intense volatility in their prices.

And, not surprisingly, the losses are setting in. Andrew Hall, the legendary trader who was paid $100 million by Citigroup (C), just ran into 10% losses in his new fund in May. The New York Post recently reported that JP Morgan's (JPM) trading desk was rumored to lose up to $250 million on a bad coal trade in the second quarter....MORE