Monday, June 27, 2011

Is The Big Money Looking for a Credit Anstalt in Italy? (GS; JPM)

I've mentioned Credit Anstalt a few times. Both Ambrose Evans-Pritchard and I were thinking about counterparties and bank runs. The collapse of CA brought on the second, nastier phase of the Great Depression.
Before the current bull move, Feb. 16, 2009:

Creditanstalt Redux?: Failure to save East Europe will lead to worldwide meltdown
I've been feeling far too chipper so I decided to check in with Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. Yikes.
From the Telegraph:

The unfolding debt drama in Russia, Ukraine, and the EU states of Eastern Europe has reached acute danger point.
If mishandled by the world policy establishment, this debacle is big enough to shatter the fragile banking systems of Western Europe and set off round two of our financial Götterdämmerung....
Well, other than that Generalfeldmarschall Paulus, how's the weather?
Creditanstalt failed in May 1931. From Kindleberger's "World in Depression: 1929-1939":

In 1929, the Bodenkreditanstalt was fused overnight with the Creditanstalt. The Bodenkreditanstalt brought to the Creditanstalt large loans to industrial concerns which could be maintained only by the device of ignoring market values...
Hmmm, sounds familiar.
Unicredit now owns Creditanstalt.
After the rescue of the bankrupt corpus and a couple mergers CA became part of Italy's Unicredit in 2006.
And today, from ZeroHedge:

Here Are The Most Actively Traded Names In Goldman's Dark Pool (Or Why Is The Big Money Fascinated With Italy?)
Courtesy of recent disclosures, the common man (as in anyone who does not pay millions in kickbacks, er, soft dollar fees to GS) can now observe what is being traded on Goldman's Dark Pool, better known as Sigma X. Why is this important? Because as Themis Trading presented last week, only 30% of all trading occurs on open exchange venues, meaning the bulk of actual shares change ownership behind the scenes, in places such as Sigma X, Chi X, and the dark pools of Credit Suisse, Citi, and various other banks, not to mention numerous other secondary ATS, where very little if any of the daily trading detail is released for general observation. This means that while HFT algos drive up the volume of numerous top 10 stocks merely for the sake of collecting rebates, the real action is in the most actively traded dark pool names, where the big boys are actively trading risk, where HFTs are non-existent, and the companies that represent the top 5 is what investors, speculators, and vacuum tubes should be focusing on. Not surprisingly, today's most active names are Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo. Translation: someone is actively positioning for serious action in Italy shortly