Both Bloomberg and WSJ have stories this evening about a credit derivatives trader in London, who works for JPMorgan, with a position so large he's apparently rattling the market.
According to WSJ, the trader identified as Bruno Michel Iksil is so big, he's being referred to as the 'London Whale'.
'Mr. Iksil has taken large positions for the bank in insurance-like products called credit-default swaps. Lately, partly in reaction to market movements possibly resulting from Mr. Iksil's trades, some hedge funds and others have made heavy opposing bets, according to people close to the matter.
Those investors have been buying default protection on a basket of companies' bonds using an index of the credit-default swaps, or CDS. Mr. Iksil has been selling the protection, placing his own bet that the companies won't default.'
And from Bloomberg, the same thing:
'Investors complain that Iksil’s trades may be distorting prices, affecting bondholders who use the instruments to hedge hundreds of billions of dollars of fixed-income holdings. Analysts and economists also use the indexes to help gauge interest rates that companies must pay for new credit.
Though Iksil reveals little to other traders about his own positions, they say they’ve taken the opposite side of transactions and that his orders are the biggest they’ve encountered. Two hedge-fund traders said they have seen unusually large price swings when they were told by dealers that Iksil was in the market.'