Critics of High-Frequency Trading Take to Capitol Hill; Hedge Funder Asks, ‘What’s Wrong With Nimbyism?’ Roundup

The Senate Banking Committee will hold hearings on high-frequency trading today, and the Wall Street Journal meets the star witnesses: Dave Lauer, a former trader at Citadel and Allston Capital who plans to tell lawmakers that high-speed trading has made markets less fair for many participants; and Andy Brooks, head of U.S. trading for T. Rowe Price, who will say that rules governing high-frequency trading generally favor bodies with short-term profit incentives.Hedge fund titan Louis Moore Bacon has donated nearly 170,000 acres of Colorado ranch land for federal conservation easements in order to protect the land from the construction of giant power lines. “What’s wrong with Nimbyism?” he said in an interview with Forbes. “The entire environmental movement was built on it. Some of the greatest environmentalists were Nimbys. Thoreau protected Walden, right?”

Bank of America is accelerating cost-cutting plans, and may eliminate another 16,000 jobs by the end of the year, The Wall Street Journal reports. Most of the cuts will focus on the company’s retail operations, as firm closes branches and shrinks its mortgage operation. Project New BAC, as the bank’s restructuring efforts are called, is designed to save $8 billion annually by 2015.

Federal lawmakers are weighing means to prevent cities from using eminent domain to seize mortgages. A proposed law would prevent Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from buying mortgages in localities that attempt to ease borrowers’ woes by seizing mortgages, according to Bloomberg. Chicago and San Bernardino County have considered eminent domain as an approach to the foreclosure crisis.

The Department of Justice is asking for more time to complete its investigation of banks implicated in efforts to manipulate interbank-lending rates, according to The Journal. While the statute of limitations on the potential Libor-rigging violations is 5 years, banks generally prefer authorities not rush investigations. DoJ’s move comes after the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission made similar requests this summer.

Libor is hardly the only financial benchmark vulnerable to manipulation, according to a paper from an international group of regulators.

The chances that Greece will leave the eurozone have increased now that the region is better prepared for a possible Grexit, Citigroup economists say, according to Business Insider.

Doubleline founder Jeffrey Gundlach was the victim of a $10 million robbery, Business Insider says, citing the Los Angeles Times.

The head of payment processing for Full Tilt Poker pleaded guilty and faces as much as 15 years in prison for misleading banks into accepting online gambling transactions.

At Naked Capitalism, Yves Smith got fooled by a fake Newsweek article in which Niall Ferguson was purported to wonder, “Was Mussolini Right?

My name is Arch Crawford, and I’ll be your financial astrologer.