Shorting the US-DPRK Meeting [UPDATED]

[NB: Update at the bottom. / ~Rayne]

At 5:08 pm ET / 7:08 am Tokyo / 6:08 am Shanghai / 1:08 am Moscow time, Trump tweeted:

Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze. Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time. Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!

At 7:49 pm ET / 9:49 am Tokyo / 8:49 am Shanghai / 3:49 am Moscow time, Press Secretary Sanders tweeted:

[email protected] greatly appreciates the nice words of the S. Korean delegation & Pres Moon. He will accept the invitation to meet w/ Kim Jong Un at a place & time to be determined. We look forward to the denuclearization of NK. In the meantime all sanctions & maximum pressure must remain

The stock market in Tokyo looked like this in response:

And Shanghai’s stock market looked like this:

Chinese investors have been bullish this week; the news about Trump meeting Kim Jong-un hasn’t really fazed them yet though if someone in the SSE Index knew about the announcement early enough, they could have made money shorting an index fund.

Japanese investors aren’t happy, which was predictable. It took them a bit to digest the news but they don’t appear comfortable. If someone knew about the announcement early enough, they could have made some money in the Nikkei using shorts.

Barring any other big news with international impact, I think we’ll see similar reactions as the sun rises over successive markets in the west. Again, somebody could probably make some money.

Call me cynical, but I think this anticipated US-North Korea meeting is just another means for making somebody cash.

Like investors with cash positions after dumping steel and aluminum bets last week — wouldn’t be surprised if they shorted Asian index funds overnight, and maybe EU and US funds in the morning local time.

UPDATE — 1:40 PM EST —

Note the markets at 9:30 am ET / 2:30 pm London / 3:30 pm Paris and Frankfurt / 5:30 pm Moscow time:

I proved I would be complete fail at shorting in US markets if I wasn’t immersed in market news; I missed the impending release of jobs data which skewed the NYSE. The FTSE (London), CAC 40 (Paris), and DAX (Frankfurt) all waited patiently to see what the NYSE would do on open. I suspect the difference between European market upticks and NYSE open time I’ve indicated is due to early trading in the U.S.; some brokerage accounts allow trades an hour or two before open.

In hindsight I wonder if the Hang Seng didn’t react like Tokyo because of a more closed market and less open media?

How interesting, though, that MICEX (Moscow) looked more like the Hang Seng throughout its day, hmm?

And imagine what one could do if they had advance indication of U.S. employment figures. If only all this was as harmless as watching Dan Akroyd and Eddie Murphy try to short orange juice futures on the CBOE in Trading Places (video excerpt, 1983).

33 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    Wish I had a better feel for the chances of a fresh indictment. I supposed when I wake up again (it’s nearly 4:00 am ET as I type this) I should check the NYSE and S&P indexes’ historical performance for any impact from the last indictments.

    And then I guess I have to figure out what to liquidate to short stocks before any prospective indictment. ~sigh~ If only I was as wealthy as Icahn and could simply tell one of my sweet young analyst flunkies to make this happen, and then capture some government officials with excess cash if I get a little to close to the regulatory edge.

    ~yawn~ See you before NYSE market open!

  2. Bay State Librul says:

    I’m a cynical bastard too because I abhor Mr. Lothario.

    Don the Con vs Rocket Man. Ego watching for the next two months, oh my.

  3. Pete says:

    Talk about betting…wonder what the odds are Trump follows the Tillerson lead and goes into a meeting with Kim without his own interpreter – or DPRK staff experts (if he has any).

    Come to think of it…in Super Bowl tradition or is that also March Madness tradition

    Might want to wager the meeting ever really happens by, say, end of 2018.

    What comes first Trump-Kim meeting or false flag resulting in a USA attack on N. Korea.

    Stormy Daniels tells on David Dennison before Trump meets with Kim.

  4. matt says:

    Nice work, Rayne.  These are the kind of correlations that prove the Market is not an omnipotent god.

  5. matt says:

    What comes first Trump-Kim meeting or false flag resulting in a USA attack on N. Korea

    I think this is a legitimate concern.  Whatever motivation is behind this is linked to Russia… and since Russia is linked to Trump… we should really be asking if Putin is making a ploy.

    Isn’t it odd timing that 10 days after Putin engages it’s nations most extreme Nuclear weapon saber rattling since Khrushchev, North Korea is miraculously ready to shed its national identity as a nuclear threat to the US?

    Nobody really wants nuclear war, so I will hope that a false flag conspiracy to start one is not in the cards.  But, what if Putin, as a strategic ally of N. Korea, has negotiated a backdoor win for Trump.  That’s one for the history books- Donald J Trump negotiates historic peace, trade, and nuclear disarmament agreement with Kim Jong-Un!

  6. bloopie2 says:

    Per Digby:  “He [Kim] is most likely willing to do even that much only to buy time for his engineers to finish developing a nuclear warhead that can fit on an ICBM capable of reaching the U.S.

    Does everyone agree  that North Korea is capable of this technical feat, or “could” be doing this?  (Just setting the ground rules.)

  7. TheraP says:

    My theory about Trump’s agreement to meet with Kim Jong-un:

    Kim is likely well aware of recent reports that Trump was “nominated” this year and last year for the Nobel Peace Prize.  The Committee to which the nominations come were understandably suspicious of Trump as a deserving nominee and thus turned the “letters of nomination” over to the Norwegian Police who deemed them “forgeries” and passed them along to the FBI for further investigation.

    So, while it’s certainly possible that Trump & cronies may have profited financially from the sudden and surprising announcement that the two “leaders” will meet, I suspect that Trump acceded to the meeting in hopes of that Peace Prize; and that Kim is well aware of the implicit carrot he can utilize in any negotiations with Trump.  (Could this be the reason for the sudden invitation?)

    I fervently hope (and believe) Trump will NEVER be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize.  Especially as he is the bringer of so much crisis, chaos and confusion on a daily if not hourly basis at home and abroad.

    But I suspect he would give away a lot to try and garner such a high honor for himself in any way possible.

    Let’s hope saner minds do the bargaining.  So he doesn’t give away the store.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Trump will also be moping about not being invited to the UK for the Wedding of the Year, in May, so he has to do something to steal the thunder. He needs to distract the cameras and commentators from Harry & Meghan and the Obamas and all the trademarked pomp and circumstance London and the monarchy are so good at.

      • TheraP says:

        Well played!

        When 2 year olds do it, it’s cute. When a 71 year old does it… Yech!

        Trump can’t even join the “ordinary folk” who’ve been invited to the party. (It would turn into a huge demonstration against him!)

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          He will also miss high tea and champagne and horse doves with the Queen, along with the half a million protesters his visit would inspire.  His tantrums are likely to be legendary.

          • synoia says:

            If he played his cards right, he could become the Star in a new Hung, Drawn and Quartered series,

  8. cfost says:

    1. Rayne, your cynicism is well founded. Check out the currency markets (forex) in the days leading up to Trump’s election. Since forex is where the really big money lies, it is a useful proxy for an “insider traders” poll.

    2. Either a miraculous “peace accord” (or some such bs), or a war is likely to raise Donald’s poll numbers. And by gosh he could use a lift right about now. Meanwhile, RU and China would love to retain their influence; and they know that the US is in a no-win situation on the peninsula. Has the situation changed in a meaningful way since Eisenhower? Apart from the nuclear….

    3. Call me far fetched, but I continue to maintain that Donald’s psyche has been compromised. He acts like someone with PTSD or a severe childhood psychic injury, except in his case it has been weaponised. The non sequiturs, the compulsiveness, obsessions, doesn’t sleep, rage fits, combativeness, it all fits. That photo of DT with the Russians in the Oval Office, the photo released by the Russians because there were no other Americans in the room, where DT supposedly said things about Comey— the look on DT’s face is downright weird, like he just woke up.

    4. My gut tells me we are in increasing danger as a country. Last night’s announcement was a joke on so many levels. And it makes me angry. DT needs to be gone yesterday.

    • matt says:

      Either a miraculous “peace accord” (or some such bs), or a war is likely to raise Donald’s poll numbers. And by gosh he could use a lift right about now.

      That’s what I’m saying… and that Putin has put the pieces in motion.  Contrary to our paranoia about Kim Jong-Un he might want to Westernize.  North Korea may have been saber rattling for Russia all along (National Review Putin article).  Putin has taken over the nuke threats, and could be orchestrating Jong-Un’s 180 degree turn around to give a “big win” for Trump.

    • TheraP says:

      Not PTSD. Not unless the person with PTSD already was a sociopath and delusional.

      Your behavioral descriptors, however, I certainly agree with. But there’s no point in worrying about a diagnosis, especially since diagnostic categories are always shifting when it comes to mental illness and at this point psychiatrists are really using the DSM based on which medications or treatment protocols work and for whom.

      Trump is not treatable. He would not cooperate. Imagine the tantrum if a court ordered he take medication.

      • Greenhouse says:

        “Not unless the person with PTSD already was a sociopath and delusional.” Hmm, sociopath and delusional…certainly sounds like Trump to me.

      • cfost says:

        “Diagnostic categories…would not cooperate…” yes I agree. Agree also with the questionable efficacy of medications. I’m not a mental health professional, but I’ve spent a good deal of time around people with these behavioral descriptors, as you put it. DT is not right in the head.
        My question is, could this be by design? We see similar behaviors by other Russian apologists: Tillerson, Page, Rohrabacher, e.g.

      • Rayne says:

        Adult Oppositional Defiant Disorder comorbid with ADD, aggravated by excess caffeine consumption from Coca-Cola products which in turn induces further aggravating sleep deprivation.

        I think he could be treated if somebody he trusted told him diet and exercise therapies would improve his fucking golf game. Then maybe he’d spend 25% of his time on improving his golf game, 25% of his time playing golf, and the remaining 50% might be slightly less obnoxious if filled with bullshit stories about his golf game being the best ever.

        • Kokuanani says:

          I think he could be treated if somebody he trusted told him diet and exercise therapies would improve his fucking golf game. 

          He might be especially interested if told treatment could improve his fucking AND golf game.

  9. Lex says:

    What is wrong with most of the commenters in this thread? It appears that most have actually accepted the US propaganda that the DPRK is a threat to the US or ROK. All of the previous agreements were broken by the US, not the DPRK. It’s actually been the DPRK that’s behaved rationally as an international actor. And let’s not forget that the ROK cannot even negotiate a peace treaty to end the war; that power is vested in the US. The DPRK has been asking for a peace treaty for decades; this isn’t new. Finally, if they can nuke the US, that’s a strong defensive posture but they’d settle for Tokyo. Don’t be fooled, most South Koreans would cheer that on. It might be time for the US to get over having it’s ass kicked by the Chinese in the early 50’s and let Koreans determine their nations’ fates.

    • matt says:

      I don’t totally disagree.  Any thoughts on timing? and if Putin is involved?  It’s odd that Trump is given this historic opportunity on a silver platter- and it’s a 180 degree turn around for his posturing during the past year.

    • Rayne says:

      LOL Do you feel better now that you got all that out of your system?

      Look, the 1994 agreement the Clinton administration had in place worked well — it worked to meet DPRK’s need to develop more electricity generation with light water technology, but kept IAEA nonproliferation inspectors in DPRK while avoiding uranium enrichment. You can blame one US administration for all the fuck-ups afterward, and one key individual in particular: Richard Perle with the Bush administration. Bloody hard for Obama to make any inroads after Perle ensured a complete US withdrawal, compounded by shifting leadership within DPRK during his administration.

      I like how you casually discard the interests of Japan (and the rest of Asia-Pacific Rim) in this entire process. I also like how you discount the possibility that DPRK has already acquired if not developed long-range missile technology. Ditto the whole idea of nuclear nonproliferation — so passé, yes?

    • Les says:

      They were never going to complete the light water reactors.  It was a delaying tactic as many of the analysts at the time were predicting a regime collapse in the late 90’s due to the severe famine.   These “expert” predictions also prevent a negotiation between North Korea and the US as the latter keeps hoping for the collapse.

  10. Willis Warren says:

    I’m skeptical that an average 1.5% movement in the stock market is evidence of manipulation, let alone that shorts were made.  Carl Icahn?  yeah, that’s a relative slam dunk, this not so much.  Now, if we see some kind of movement as a result of, say, sanctions being eased or a contractor doing business…

    • Rayne says:

      Did you see the market shift much on Friday or first thing Monday after Icahn dumped his $30 million of Manitowoc stock? You didn’t.

      They don’t have to have a complete plummet of the market to make money. They just have to have enough money spread over multiple markets to take advantage of these moves which they know about in advance — like news they create on their own time clock.

      Christ, I just thought of another use for the Facebook/Equifax/SCL-Cambridge data: find individuals with credit histories which won’t automatically create SAR reports if they suddenly opened new brokerage accounts to daytrade. Liquidate profits into new bank accounts, cash out, and dump the accounts without paying taxes. A weaponized money laundering market.

      Come on, Willis. You’re going to have to smarten up to stay ahead of these crooks.

      • Willis Warren says:

        Fine, but the companies that depend on steel are easy to identify, Rayne.  I’m not sure that’s the case with the nuclear deal.  I’d be interested if you’d identified companies that have contracts in South Korea in terms of nuclear defense.  The most obvious would be Raytheon, who, I believe does the THAAD/Patriot defense contracts

        The March 9th data is uneven, but there’s an opportunity to make some money buying in on the dip that morning, I guess:

        My skepticism on stock market manipulation probably has more to do with the overall mechanization of the market these days, though


  11. wayoutwest says:


    Kim has publicly threatened his neighbors with Nuke attacks and even if he doesn’t have the capability, the US. The appeasement deals Clinton tried failed almost immediately when NK’s Nuke program went underground and continued unabated. Why should the US have to complete deals when most everyone knew we had been made fools of a cult of personality strongman?

    • matt says:

      North Korea has always had a defensive posture- even talking Nuclear “offensive” attack against the US- was a defensive tactic.  In the past 20 years, you can imagine that Russia and China benefited from the Rouge State/Axis of Evil foil played on the US.  They are next door neighbors and were never really concerned.  The MIC bought into it too- there is nothing more profitable than an enemy that requires billions in military spending.  It’s possible that Russia and China see that strategically getting rid of “boogie man” enemies will actually hurt the rai·son d’ê·tre of the American military establishment.  Moon Jae-in has taken the lead with negotiations without coordinating with its protectorate of the past 60 years- which may signal they no longer want to involve the US as well.  Kim Jong-un was the one to initiate the talks with Trump which implies that he has a coordinated agenda that at least will take seriously some of our demands.  We have no active State department- and the Trump administration’s involvement in any of the world theaters seems to buck the ingrained assumptions of American “establishment’ foreign policy.  Working with Trump may actually be an opportunity for N. Korea to switch its national identity from anti-US militarism toward a path of modernization and economic partnership with regional nation states.

      Yes, both parties administrations have failed with N. Korea. over the years…. but as we all know… this administration is different.  Will be interesting to see how it unfolds.

  12. erich luerschner says:

    Hmmm,   The ploys to “make money/ transfer wealth from the gullible to the selfish”  is more what the Nuclear Weapons scam has ALWAYS been about, as Leslie Groves testified during the Teller induced trial to revoke Oppenheimer of his security clearance.  Daniel Ellsberg has been VERY clear that it is the nuclear weapons manufacturers that have driven US nuclear weapons policy, not “defense”.  What is not as well known is how vulnerable this arrogance and dismissal of Russia because of its small economic footprint (both in GDP and military expenditures) in terms of military confrontation,  As “the Saker” points out, “When your head is in the sand, your ass is in the air”.

  13. wayoutwest says:


    Sane leaders with Nuke weapons do not directly threaten their neighbors with Nuke hellfire they depend on MAD to protect their security. The only party in the Korean peninsula to ever be agressive or invade another country is and was NK. The false narrative that the US would invade was for local consumption and some simpler minds outside the area seem to believe this nonsense.

    The Chinese are the only party in this conflict that can possibly find a solution and Trump has aimed all of his earlier rhetoric at them. They seem to be responding and this summit although only symbolic is a good start.

    • matt says:

      The only party in the Korean peninsula to ever be aggressive or invade another country is and was NK. The false narrative that the US would invade was for local consumption


      Have you forgotten your history of the Korean war?  The US was the great nemesis on which the creation of N. Korea was founded.


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