Posts Tagged ‘market volume’

Why Nobody Trades During Regular Hours Any More (And How Prop Funds Just Stop Trading When Volatility Spikes)

Why Nobody Trades During Regular Hours Any More (And How Prop Funds Just Stop Trading When Volatility Spikes)

HFTCourtesy of Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge 

For those who follow our periodic updates on intraday stock volume, today’s article by the Wall Street Journal which focuses on the dramatic decline in activity during regular working hours will come as no surprise. In a piece looking at prop trading shop Briargate (oh so witty anagram of arbitrage), founded by several former NYSE specialists, we learn that at least one firm (and likely many more) now no longer does any trading during the hours of 11 to 2. As this creates a feedback loop of inactivity, pretty soon the core of daily stock market activity will merely be the half an hour of action at the open, and the dark pool-ETF-open exchange rebalance at the very close, with everything inbetween deemed obsolete.

Of course, what this will do, is create even more volatility in trading, force an even greater decline in stock trading volumes (and pain for Wall Street firms), and a further divergence between stocks and fundamentals, as momentum trading gains an even more prominent role in determine "price discovery."

From the WSJ:

On the day the "flash crash" bludgeoned the stock market and chaos swept over the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, the founders of Briargate Trading were at the movies.

Rick Oscher and Steven Rubinstein weren’t playing hooky. Briargate, a proprietary-trading firm that the two former NYSE floor "specialist" traders started in 2008, is mostly active at the stock market’s open and close.

In between, when market activity typically drops, the Wall Street veterans play tennis in Central Park, take leisurely lunches, visit their children’s schools and work out at the gym. Dress shoes have been replaced with flip-flops, slacks with cargo shorts. Once during market hours, they walked about five miles and crossed the Brooklyn Bridge to try Grimaldi’s pizza.

"We actually planned on working a full day," says Mr. Oscher, wearing a white polo shirt and blue-plaid shorts. "But from 11 to 2, the markets are pretty quiet—what’s the point? As a specialist, you have to stand in your spot all day and we did that for 20 years."

Briargate—an anagram of "arbitrage"—isn’t the only firm taking an extended recess during the 6½-hour U.S. trading day. Trading has become increasingly concentrated in the

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The Eerie Implications of Market Volume and Mutual Fund Flows

The Eerie Implications of Market Volume and Mutual Fund Flows 

Courtesy of Doug Short 

Once upon a time, market volume, in combination with price, was a useful indicator. Or make that indicators (plural), including Rate of Change, Volume Oscillator, On Balance Volume, Price and Volume Trend, Accumulation Distribution, Chaikin Oscillator, Money Flow Indicator, etc.

Even so, S&P 500 volume has been falling since early May with no sign yet of a post-summer seasonal increase. Of course, we’re still in the holiday shortened week following Labor Day. But look at the 2009 volume pattern on the chart. Where was the volume to confirm the market advance after a choppy October?

A recent WSJ article, SEC Is Looking at ‘Quote Stuffing’, mentioned in passing that high-frequency trading (HFT) accounts for about two-thirds of the market’s volume. 

I don’t know of a single comprehensive guide to what the retail investor is really up to, but the impression I get is that the equities are not high on the list of where to park money. The next two charts, covering the same timeframe, are based on data in a PDF file I downloaded from the Investment Company Institute. Since the chart above is a broad U.S. Index, the first chart below only measures fund flows for domestic equities. 

Naturally these charts are open to various interpretations. Bond Bubble Cassandras will see the last chart as a confirmation of their prophecy. Cheerleaders of ETFs and other alternatives to mutual funds may be inclined to disregard both fund-flow charts as largely irrelevant.

I used the wood "eerie" in the title to this piece primarily to convey my impression of a vague sense of disquiet about markets and the economy. Are retail investors sitting on the sidelines or scurrying to bonds because of anxiety about the market? If so, should we take this as a contrary indicator?

Here’s a more compelling question: If two-thirds or more of daily volume is a function of high-frequency trading, what are the implications for index prices over the long haul?

A year has passed since I posted some charts illustrating the incredible ratio of S&P 500 volume devoted to five financial stocks (see Gaming the Market). Today’s game is no doubt different…
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The Other 44 Percent Is Really Bernanke’s Jerk Off Hand

Why is market volume so low? Jr. Dep. has an interesting analogy. In theory, 56% of the volume is controlled by Bots, and the other 44% is Bernanke alone (but read the CNBC article for a contrary view). – Ilene  

The Other 44 Percent Is Really Bernanke’s Jerk Off Hand

Courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant 

As I already clearly stated, there are no investors left, just HFT robots getting jerked off by the Fed. If I wanted to see that I’d cash my paycheck in dollar bills and head to the Lusty Lady.

CNBC, however, needs to point out that volume is light. Don’t worry, that recovery should be here any day now, just keep jerking…


Volume was lighter than normal for August, and so far it is also lighter than normal for September. How much lighter? In the first 5 trading days, September consolidated trading volume at the NYSE was down 31 percent compared to the same period last year. August volume was also 31 percent below the same period last year.

Why? Look at who does the trading:

1 ) High frequency traders are 56 percent of all trades. This includes proprietary trading shops, market makers, and high-frequency trading hedge funds, according to Tabb Group. But as volume and volatility drops, this group gets less opportunity to profit from the statistical arbitrage trades most of them do.

You can almost hear the fapfapfap every time you look at a damn chart, careful not to get any in your eye. 

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Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

By Data Diary:

It’s been notable that volume has been stepping higher on the S&P500:

SnP500 price and volume 400x252 S&P VOLUME IS RISING   WHAT IS THIS TELLING US?

Volume peaks tend to be associated with short to medium bottoms in the index.  Similarly, troughs in volume often signal some kind of top.  Or course this relationship doesn’t always hold – a wicked example being that 2008 price avalanche where volume peaked around 8bn shares per day and then thrashed around below that level until the March 2009 floor was eventually reached.

Still is there some significance to the recent rise in activity?  Some thoughts for your consideration…

1) It’s a ‘reversion to mean’ volume – While it’s incredible (and clearly unsustainable) that volume increased over 20% per annum since the beginning of 2004, the question remains what is the underlying trend in daily volume.  On a trend basis we may still be south of that level.

2) Buy the dip – the risk compression trade is alive and well and about to enter it’s next phase.  This would have more credibility in my book if risk appetite had also blown out already.  It hasn’t.


Credit spreads in Europe may have dissolved in a gelatinous mess, but the US credit markets remain blase about this state of affairs.  Similarly, the VIX has sprung to life but not nearly enough to signal that we are in a renewed bout of risk aversion. The relative calm can be seen a little more clearly via our risk appetite index:

Risk appetite index1 400x246 S&P VOLUME IS RISING   WHAT IS THIS TELLING US?

As an indicator, we would normally expect the index to have dipped towards -2% before the ‘panic’ volume spike was upon us.

3) Risk aversion is on the rise  - My best guess is that the rising volume is part of a change in trend – that’s it’s more likely to represent distribution than accumulation.  Witness the Merrill Lynch hedge fund position report (via Market Folly) suggesting that funds have been reducing their equity exposure. If this is the case, then it’s likely that there are a few even higher volume days in the wings. 


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S&P 500 Rebound Continues to Defy Trends

S&P 500 Rebound Continues to Defy Trends

Courtesy of Trader Mark at Fund My Mutual Fund 

There used to be a saying that markets fall much faster than they rise. Like many things the past year, historical trends such as that truism have been blown out of the water.

The S&P 500 is now up 7% in 3 weeks (the Russell 2000 is doing even better) and continues to steamroll anyone who stands in its way. The 8% correction in late January to mid February? Similary, it took 3 weeks. (Click to enlarge)

Our "ups" now happen as quickly as our "downs"… and yet again (a broken record) with little volume to show for it on the upswing. You can see that on the bars at the bottom of the chart, the only days the liquidity flood can be contained (selloffs) are on heavy volume days. Almost all lighter volume days mean sideways or upside action.

The beat goes on; another V-shaped, light volume rally to mimic those of 2009. Anyone using traditional technical analysis (use of volume) continues to look the fool. 

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Google – There And Back Again… In Half The Time

Google – There And Back Again… In Half The Time

Courtesy of Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge

A peculiar side-effect of the current low-volume rise market dynamic can be seen by the curious price (and volume) action in investing public darling Google. When the market was climbing in the low volume days since November, the stock grew from $531 to a peak of $626 in 42 days, on average volume of 2.02 million shares per day. Then, when the selling started, the volume picked up by more than 100%, with daily average volume of 4.7 million shares, while the decline in the stock to the onset price of $531 took less than half the time, or 19 days. Such are the vagaries of the VWAP unwind, as algorithms seek to reverse to a longer and longer mean. Google demonstrates very accurately what would happen to the stock market should there be a real, exogenous selling catalyst. Now consider that the S&P’s VWAP since the March lows is around the 950 level. If the market is unable to sustain the most recent relief rally, and if this is coupled with geopolitical news or a default the PIIGS or some other unpredictable event, expect a very prompt but highly doable correction. If the market volume doubled and the time of decline was cut in half relative to the rise, consider what would happen if all mutual funds suddenly switched from a buying to a selling posture… And what this would mean for the final closing level on the S&P of that particular D-Day.



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Zero Hedge

Paul Craig Roberts Roars "Rigged Elections Are An American Tradition"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

Do Americans have a memory? I sometimes wonder.

It is an obvious fact that the oligarchic One Percent have anointed Hillary, despite her myriad problems to be President of the US. There are reports that her staff are already moving into their White House offices. This much confidence before the vote does suggest that the skids have been greased.

The current cause celebre agai...

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What Millennials Reject Is Mutant Capitalism

By The Foundation for Economic Education. Originally published at ValueWalk.

It’s not exactly news that capitalism has an image problem. Say the word “capitalist” and the image that comes to mind is of a rapacious, self-interested robber baron – less Steve Jobs or Warren Buffett, more Charles Montgomery Burns.

Among young people, the problem is even more severe. For the generation who came of age during the financial crisis, argues George Koopman of the Mercatus Centre in the Wall Street Journal:

“…capitalism isn’t about free enterprise, nor is it about the startups and innovation. When they hear the term, millennials think about Wall Street bailouts, corporate greed, political scandals and tax codes riddle...

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Market News

Morning Reads from Bill Moyers


Morning Reads: McCain Tells Trump to Respect Democratic Process; Hurricane Matthew Was 6th Thousand-Year Storm in 1 Year

This post first appeared on

Doubling down --> Donald Trump says he will accept the result of the election... if he wins it.

The GOP is largely silent on their candidate's unprecedented anti-democratic stance — with a few ...

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Phil's Favorites

Renzi's Gamble Even Bigger Than Most Think

Courtesy of Mish.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi threatened to step down if a December government-reform measure he seeks does not pass.

The reform will dramatically reduce the power of the Senate. It will also give a parliamentary majority to the party that gets the most votes. Renzi wants that authority.

Ironically, if the referendum does pass, Italy is more likely to leave the Euro than if it doesn’t. A graph of Italian Voter Polls shows why.

Opinion Polling for the Next Italian General Election


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Kimble Charting Solutions

Bio-Tech; In more trouble if this fails, says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

At one point in time, actually for years, Bio-Tech (IBB) was a market leader. From the 2009 lows to 2015, IBB out gained the S&P by more than 250%. Since the summer of 2015, Bio Tech has remained a leader, a “downside leader!” IBB has lagged the S&P by over 35% in the past 15-months.

Is the downside leadership over for IBB? Below updates the pattern on IBB


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Chart School

SP500 Status Pre US 2016 Elections

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Where have we been, what does the future look like?

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NOTE: does allow users to load objects and text on charts, however some annotations are by a free third party image tool named

Investing Quote...

..."There is what I call the behaviour of a stock, actions that enable you to judge whether or not it is going to proceed in accordance with the precedents that your observation has noted. If a stock doesn’t act right don’t touch it, because, be...

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Members' Corner

The Orlando Massacre Part 3

Courtesy of Nattering Naybob.

A continuation of a Naybob of IT's Natterings from Part 1 and Part 2...

While many Christian churches expressed grief and offered free funeral services for the victims of the Orlando shooting, the fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church held an anti-gay protest during the funeral of the victims.

But the Westboro Baptist Church's protest rally was blocked by about 200 people who formed a human barricade on the main street in downtown Orlando, ...

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Swing trading portfolio - week of October 17th, 2016

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.


This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...

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Mapping The Market

The Most Overlooked Trait of Investing Success

Via Jean-Luc

Good article on investing success:

The Most Overlooked Trait of Investing Success

By Morgan Housel

There is a reason no Berkshire Hathaway investor chides Buffett when the company has a bad quarter. It’s because Buffett has so thoroughly convinced his investors that it’s pointless to try to navigate around 90-day intervals. He’s done that by writing incredibly lucid letters to investors for the last 50 years, communicating in easy-to-understand language at annual meetings, and speaking on TV in ways that someone with no investing experience can grasp.

Yes, Buffett runs an amazing investment company. But he also runs an amazing investor company. One of the most underappreciated part of his s...

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Digital Currencies

Gold, Silver and Blockchain - Fintech Solutions To Negative Rates, Bail-ins, Currency Debasement and Cashless

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

By Jan Skoyles

I was so pleased yesterday by the announcement that I have joined the Research team at GoldCore as it meant that I could finally start talking about it and was back in a role that lets me indulge in my passion by researching and geeking out on all things gold, silver and money.


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Epizyme - A Waiting Game

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Epizyme was founded in 2007, and trying to create drugs to treat patient's cancer by focusing on genetically-linked differences between normal and cancer cells. Cancer areas of focus include leukemia, Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and breast cancer.  One of the Epizme cofounders, H. Robert Horvitz, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2002 for "discoveries concerning genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death."

Before discussing the drug targets of Epizyme, understanding epigenetics is crucial to comprehend the company's goals.  

Genetic components are the DNA sequences that are 'inherited.'  Some of these genes are stronger than others in their expression (e.g., eye color).  Yet, some genes turn on or off due to external factors (environmental), and it is und...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

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Click here for the full report.

To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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