Black HelicoptersThis week in particular has all the signs of a collective manipulation scheme: Banks need extra cash to cover their loss but they can't place any new products with their clients, so what do you do? You ring the cashier at the prop desk! First you choose a week where many US/ most European/ all Japanese investors are still on holiday, you get some analysts to issue a few dubious downgrades on Intel (strange timing anyway!), you call your pals at in the media to back the market action with news and unproven causality; you get your oil trader to tick the magic $100 level where you cash in on options and structured products triggers — and while you're at it, you might as well take advantage of the holiday in Tokyo to push the Yen. Meanwhile, Bernanke is as absent as ever, worrying more about transparency issues (who cares about that anyway?) than trying to display real leadership. Strange days indeed!


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