Citadel was rather firm in issuing unflagging and unqualified denials relating to any persistent rumors that had been swirling around about the firm. These started to become more and more acute in the last two weeks. It was said they were being visited by the Fed. No, the Fed was interviewing Citadel counterparties to gauge their exposure. Ok, so Citadel had met with the Fed, sorta. But it was totally routine. That they were down 20%. No, it's more like 30%. Ok, 40%. "40%? You're a damn liar. It was 30%, seriously." Their "reassure debt holders" call was so popular with non-debt-holders that the call was apparently delayed while the firm scrambled to reserve more lines. This is the modern equivalent of rubbernecking, of course.
So Citadel is fine. But that 10% "Mommy, I had an accident in the night time" disaster that was the last two days of the market? Totally Citadel and friends, or so says the Wall Street Journal:
The recent rush of withdrawal notices to hedge funds comes as investors, including endowments, pension funds and wealthy individuals, see other investments shrink; in some cases these investors need cash to meet their own obligations. It also marks a sharp reversal of sentiment among these big institutional investors, which jumped into hedge funds and similar investments in recent years. The University of Virginia, with an endowment of $4 billion in mid-October, recently said it plans to sell $400 million of its $1.8 billion in hedge funds in the next couple of years to fulfill commitments to other investments.
The result is a downward spiral where hedge funds sell off thinly traded securities such as convertible bonds and corporate loans, driving down their prices, and leading to bigger losses and more demands for cash. Some $4.28 billion worth of corporate loans have been put up for sale in the past month, according to Standard & Poor's. When hedge funds can't meet the demands for cash, lenders seize their assets and try to sell them, further driving down prices and putting more funds in trouble.
Ok you ruffians! Who's long equities?
Hedge Fund Selling Puts New Stress on Market [The Wall Street Journal]