A Glossary of TMMisms

We are often asked what the heck we are talking about with many of the terms and phrases we use, so here is a brief glossary. It is not in alphabetical order but is loosely based around themes.

MM – Macro Man – The progenitor of this blog.

TMM – Team Macro Man. We, us, them. The authors of this blog, having been bequeathed the responsibility by MM.

Voldermort – The all-powerful wizard of evil in the Harry Potter books. OR a financial institution based somewhere in the orient that can’t decide whether it is a regulator, monetary authority, reserve manager or hedge fund, but the rest of the world know it as a general fx piss taker.

Death Eaters – Followers of Voldermort, his ideals and principles on how to manage fx and currency reserves. . Their home was traditionally the Far East but recently sects have sprung up in Latin America.

Thunderdomes – The arena in one of the “Mad Max” films where opponents slugged it out in no rule combat. OR many emerging (and some theoretically emerged) markets where regulation is equally light. .

Little Timmy – Secretary to a large North American Government Treasury.

The Beard – Little Timmy’s blind executioner. He is also the spokesman for a band of North American Federal Reserve banks.

The Swerve / King of the Moon – Ex Governor of a Central Bank based in London.

Mervynflation – A form of inflation that a whole population can see and suffers, yet is completely invisible to The Swerve.

Gaucho Grill – A device first used by Argentina to remove any inflation from official data. It is now in a building in Threadneedle Street producing the finest Mervynflation.

Forward Guide Dog - The dog of guidance leading blind central bankers down the path of monetary policy.

Carneyage - A sharp dislocation in the markets resulting in shock and pain caused by the Governor of a London based central bank not doing what he had guided the market to expect he would having been led by a Forward Guide Dog. .

Bernankage - A sharp dislocation in the markets resulting in shock and pain caused by The Beard not doing what he had happily allowed them to believe he would having been led by a Forward Guide Dog.

Bundeathstar – A European Country's Central Bank based in Frankfurt

Darth Weber – The man was in charge of the Bundeathstar and deemed too extreme for the A team.

Darth Wiedmann - Darth Weber's successor. Lord of the Sith. Single minded, cold hearted Conqueror of the peripheral universe having ensnared the ECB within the Bundeathstar's force field.

The “A” Team – A large pan-European Central Bank . Was once the “AAA” team but considering the amount of peripheral debt they now own they have been downgraded to ‘Single A’

Mr T - Was the strongest member of the A Team. He kicked off a fashion for wearing Gold. A Viiiigiiiilante. Retired in 2011.

Dr. Aghi - Il Dottore. The current head of the A Team, Dr. Mario, has taken over the treatment of Europe and has so far managed to stabilise the patient.

Jurgenought - A statement made by the A Team's Herr Stark that on closer inspection is found to contain nothing of importance (most of them).

Mangler – The leader of a European government based in Berlin (for the time being).

Eurostrich – An "A" Team member or European policy maker who buries their head in the sand and denies the bleeding obvious hoping it will go away.

STFU policy - Brought over to Europe by Little Timmy and employed successfully by the "A" Team, Mangler and other Eurostriches during the summer of 2010 deflecting attention away from the Eurowoes. It stands for Shut the F*ck Up.

Eurorevelation - A fact the Eurostriches can ignore or deny no longer and has to ultimately be revealed accompanied by surprise, shock, outrage, disappointment. (eg Ireland might have to go to the IMF)

Euroblx – Euro bollocks. Most of it really.

iPIGS – Not an Apple version of the club med countries. Here i = insolvent

PIISers – PIIGS less Greece which has already fallen over. Soon to loose an “I” and become “PISers” as Ireland falls to bailouts. [4/11 update - Now down to just IS] [5/12 update - This term is now redundant - see EuroZombies]

EuroZombies - The European countries that have fallen to bailouts and rescue packages. The financial living dead. Left alone they will slowly decompose but the market is terrified they will bite and infect those around them.

Baby Eltiaro- LTRO - Born to save mankind, or rather the Eurozombies. Healing powers yet to be proven beyond placebo.

Aqua Nueva - A distillation of pure arrogance and appalling service containing no spirit whatsoever served in a glitzy shallow vessel to the detriment of the recipient. As in "The Eurogroup served Aqua Nueva to Cyprus". As with the London restaurant of the same name and same dreadful attributes, it is to be avoided at all costs.

ED-209 - the Eurogroup/Troika implementation tool for facilitating European rescue packages since the Cyprus event. Derived from Robocop's ED-209 heavily-armed robot enforcer with a notable lack of intelligence which, together with an overzealous inforcement of its preprogrammed rules of engagement and a tendency towards clumsy malfunctions, usually leaves its victims dead.

MTMB - Mark to Make Believe. An accounting technique perfected by French and other European banks during the sovereign debt crisis, which ignores conservative accounting principles and practices market pricing by a range of obfuscation including "hold to maturity" accounts, secret internal valuation models, conveniently excluding Greek government bond holdings maturing later than 2020 from the hallucinogenic 21% haircut because they are excluded from the PSI etc.

Papa - Whoever is, at any moment, in charge of Greek finances.

Uncle Berletchsconi - (The Letch) Everyones favourite elderly Italian uncle, though you may not want to sit on his knee.

US Ex-Investment bank – the Vampire Squid. If you still don't know who we mean then Google it.

Himalayan Pink Salt - A product composed of cheap generic components yet sold as a miracle cure-all for huge profit. The more exotic it sounds the more margin can be commanded. Finding and flogging the next financial Himalayan Pink Salt is at the heart of investment banking.

Armchair General - A salesperson, analyst, commentator or other generalist who adopts the air of a highly qualified expert on the latest newsworthy event, whatever it may be. Can deftly switch between pontificating upon wars, natural disasters, political events or scientific theory with a pompous gravitas that belies the frantic googling and wiki'ing going on behind the scenes.

MBA - Mindlessly Bullish Analyst. To be used in the hushed tones of Test Match Special, "Oooh that's a ripper from the MBAs at Banca Indebta".

PhD's - Analysts and Economists who can build a picture of the present but yet struggle with the past (tend to revise their figures months post-event) and have absolutely no clue about the future.

12 year olds - Young quant analysts who have moved directly from mathematic academia into finance and have no experience of real life. Will build trading models that work in theory but cannot cope with the realities of human behaviour and liquidity (will scream when they can't shift 150m USD/TWD 6mth at Friday NY close screen price). 12 year olds have more 6 sigma events than the rest of humanity and tend to be French.

Disasternista - A follower of the "Cult of the Black Swan" who has been conditioned since 2007 to expect black swan events to occur with white swan regularity. Often found on the "sell side" of finance or in the media peddling doom to increase business or readership. Opposite of a "12 year old".

Extrapolationists - Analysts and media folk who see a price or theme start to trend and grab a ruler and pencil to then extend a line from that trend. This line is then used as a transport system to move the blind from the land of high probability to remarkably low probability without passing through "Hey, that's not very likely for loads of reasons".

Foil Beanie wearers - Conspiracy theorists.

Spam Chucker - Someone with apocalyptic views on the direction civilisation is taking (has hence amassed stores of tinned meat) whom we may have upset by suggesting that the price of Gold doesn't go to Pluto.

Pink Flamingo –The passing on of an effect from one apparently isolated market to the next. Was first cited here

Soothsayer Signals – Reference to a form of technical analysis that is so well copywrite protected by its developer we dare not speak its name. But the number of the beast is 13 …or is it 9?. Or is it 9139? Or is it 9139139139?

Battledeathcrosstar Galactica – A technical signal that involves 2 moving averages crossing that is APPARENTLY the portent to the end of the Universe, though it never seems to work out that way.

Bigfiguritis - A disease suffered by markets on the approach to any round number price.  Why the last 0.0001 of price action on the approach to the round number should be any different to any other 0.0001 price move is beyond us but humanity feels that breaches or achievements of such numbers should be triggers for parties or panics. Can normally be cured by reciprocating the number involved ( eg 1.3000 becomes the less significant 0.7692307).

DPI - Dinner Party Index. A measure of the amount of judgement passed on "the issue" by the cognoscenti of other professions at dinner parties. Important to note that "the issue" involved is NEVER blamed on anyone in the Arts or Media (who of course are the modern day martyrs of the world).

Gone Tabloid – "The issue" is on the front pages of the skuzziest of news publications. There is no one left to act on the news.

TDI - Taxi Driver Index . How often you hear "the issue" pontificated upon by the drivers of your taxis. A measure of how much momentum the “gone Tabloid “ function has. This indicator should be taken pretty seriously.

MDI - Moist Digit Indicator. Used when one hasn't a clue. Licking one's finger and sticking it in the air to try and detect which way the wind is blowing.

PIN - Price is News. Where the moves in the price have become the news itself leading to even bigger moves of the price due the news that it has moved. Derivations include PINball - whooping it up on Price is News; Hear a PIN Drop - suspect an oncoming fall that is self-fulfilling on price panic; PIN Money - money made on a price is news moves (Voldermort style perhaps); PINnickle only a small return made on a PIN move.

WWF - Not the World Wildlife Fund, or a wrestling organisation, here it stands for Wrong Way First. Is classically seen in wedge patterns on charts which are meant to show reversals. The first move is often out of the continuation side of the wedge (the wrong way) before it turns and does what it is meant to. Also often seen in January as everyone piles into their trades of the year before reality kicks in and the markets turn around and takes out their stops in February.

RORO - Risk On Risk Off. When all markets are marching to the same tune swamping sectoral analysis. The frequency of swings from Risk On to Risk Off can sometimes be measured in kilohertz.

Teradollars - TMM have adopted S.I. units when talking about large sums of money. Mega and Gigadollars were well known sums, but it is only with the arrival of QE that the term Teradollar has become more widely used.

DGDF - Dollar Goes Down Forever. A school of thought wheeled out once the dollar has gone down a lot already.

GGUF - Similar to DGDF, but is a Spam Chucker's mantra - Gold Goes Up Forever.

BOLIVIAN - Balls Out Long, Infinite Var, It's A No-brainer. As in "We are going Bolivian, can't lose."

Vengabus - A trade or idea that has everyone jumping on board as it becomes immensely popular, but is destined to return to the obscurity from whence it came leaving everyone scratching their head as to how, being so terrible, it ever got the amount of traction it did in the first place. As in, "is the driver of the Euro Vengabus falling asleep at the wheel?" or "The GGUF Vengabus seems to have gone into reverse gear".

JBTFD - Just Buy the F'in Dip. An expression used by blinkered bulls in disregard of any other argument when markets dare to go down. Inspired and beautifully illustrated here. Antagonist of JSTFR.

JFDI - Just F'in Do It. To be screamed at European policy procrastinators, central banks and anyone else wasting your time as they dither over the only sensible choice, whether a financial trade, a travel ticket, a dress purchase or the precise amount of coinage for a payment.

Falling Knife - When the Dip you just bought doesn't turn and evolves into a white-knuckle vertical descent.  Also known as a Baumgartner.

Kevlar gloves - Donned to offer some protection when trying to catch falling knives and Baumgartners.

Edward the Seconded - To have a position go so wrong that the pain involved can only be compared to that experienced by Edward II of England in the moments before his legendary death.

Zimbabwean Economics - A school of Economics that The Beard is trying to follow, named after the Winners of the Olympic Gold in FX competitive devaluation.

Hedge – Something best purchased in a garden-center.

Some real market terms – We know most of you know them but we are often asked on the following:-

Spoos – the front contract of the S+P 500 future. ( derived from the sept contract code SPU, but now applied generically) - Nadoos are the nasdaq equivalent, not to be muddled with Noodles which are the nasdaq e-mini contracts.

“x”s”y”s –The spread between bonds of duration x and y. eg 2s10s 10s30s

Vol – If we use this we always mean Volatility NOT volume ( please note if you are a transcribing blog site).

Stochs – Stochastics (charting) NOT a mispelling of a term for "equities".

Yard - 1000 million. or a modern Billion. TMM would now try and call it a giga- but it is actually an abbreviation of the old english term Milliard which not surprisingly means 1000 million and itself comes from the French word Milliard which means..... You get the picture.

Bag - In FX-world, a brash Hedge Fund Portfolio Manager term for a Yard, but more commonly used when trading futures where it means 1000 (from the cockney rhyming "Bag of sand - Grand")

Lakh (lac)- 100,000, from the Indian word lakh meaning ..... you guessed it..... Not to be shouted out in a dealing room unless you are dealing in gold otherwise everyone will know you are doing tiny deals and must be very unimportant.

There are loads of sub unit slangs we won't go into here such as desmonds, tons, bullseyes, various animals, minus e to the pi i, etc

Shag - NOT a bird, tobacco, hairstyle, sexual act, carpet or dance but a term of reference to another similar to "mate". As in "alright shag?", or "how you doing shag?". Was a common term in FX dealing rooms of yesteryear. Interestingly Amazon are now selling something called FX Shag spray. We are intrigued to find out what its effects are when applied.
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Click here for comments
November 23, 2010 at 11:52 AM ×

fantastic! thank you TMM

November 24, 2010 at 12:02 PM ×

You guys rock! Keep it up. Great stuff.
Cheers from Osaka....

May 10, 2012 at 5:01 PM ×

"So.. to put it VERY CLEARLY in media sound bites, which everyone seems to need these days rather than considering nuances, J B T F D (see glossary)"

Yep...that's better. ;=)

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