Posts Tagged ‘quote stuffing’

Monday: Clear Proof of Massive Market Manipulation

SPY 5 MINUTERemember this?  

Sure you do, this was Friday's intra-day chart of SPY, the ETF that tracks the performance of the S&P 500.  It's pretty similar to what happened every day last week, with a high-volume (relatively) sell-off followed by a recovery on almost no volume into the close, giving us the impression that the markets are flat

Only Friday was a bit different.  On Friday, the market manipulators were so desperate to close the week on a high note and so greedy, that they also got sloppy and now we have some very clear evidence of what complete and utter BULLSHIT this market is:

What do we see here?  Despite a 0.45% rise in the S&P and a 0.39% rise in the NYSE, 0.4% in the Dow,  0.45% in the Nasdaq and 0.25% rise in the Russell, the FACT is that there were FAR MORE shares DECLINING than there were advancing.  In fact, on the NYSE MKT (what used to be called the AMEX), declining volume outpaced advancing volume by 115%.  115%!  Yet we get a 0.4% RISE in the index?  

On the NYSE itself, 2,079 stocks declined while only 1,057 (33%) of the stocks advanced and there was 56% more volume to the declining shares than the advancing shares yet, MIRACULOUSLY, 160 NYSE stocks made new 52-week (and, often, all-time) highs while just 30 made 52-week lows.  That's 84% positive!  Isn't that amazing?  Isn't that UNBELIEVABLE???  

It is unbelievable, as in – something that should not be believed by intelligent people.  When you see a magician on stage sawing a woman in half or levitating – you might be amazed at what a good trick it is but you don't start believing in magic, do you?  What if that magician asks you to bet your retirement on the fact that he is really levitating people or that his assistant can medically be cut into pieces and reassembled?  

You wouldn't risk your money on such obvious fakery, would you?  You wouldn't give your hard-earned money to a person whose job it was to…
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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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“It’s Not A Market, It’s An HFT ‘Crop Circle’ Crime Scene” – Further Evidence Of Quote Stuffing Manipulation By HFT

"It’s Not A Market, It’s An HFT ‘Crop Circle’ Crime Scene" – Further Evidence Of Quote Stuffing Manipulation By HFT

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

HFTRecently we posted a required reading analysis by Nanex in which the market trading analytics firm presented irrefutable evidence of quote stuffing by HFT algorithms in tens of stocks, in which thousands of cancelled quotes would reappear each second with a definitive periodicity and regularity, around the time of the May 6 flash crash. Aside from the fact that it is illegal to indicate a quote without a trade intent, this form of quote stuffing is in fact manipulative when conducted by HFT repeaters in specific "shapes" as it actually moves the NBBO actively higher or lower, in cases pushing the bid/offer range up to 10% higher without even one trade ever having occurred, simply by masking a big block order which other algos interpret as bid interest and pull all offers progressively or step function higher (or vice versa, although we have rarely if ever seen the walking down of a stock over the past 18 months). It is as if the HFT lobby has been given the green light by the powers that be that it is safe to activate merely the bid-size quote stuffing algorithms, and not worry: the fact that the market is so one sided in its quote stuffing patterns is sufficient reason to worry of a concerted effort to push stocks higher, initiated from the very top, and effected by not only the Primary Dealer community but by the end-market "liquidity providers."

Today, courtesy of Nanex we demonstrate that this type of illegal stock manipulation continues rampant to this very day, and the SEC still fails acknowledge that it is precisely the HFT market participants that persist in destabilizing stock prices, which have given up responding to fundamentals and merely move up or down based on quote stuffing interventions by those who plead innocence and claim to only be providing liquidity. Well take a look at the millions in fake, and thus illegal, bids demonstrated below and tell us just how any of this manipulation is "providing liquidity" – the second the patterns break, the algos responsible for the churn pattern disappear, thus eliminating numerous levels of so called bid liquidity below the NBBO: break enough patterns and you have another flash crash
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How HFT Quote Stuffing Caused The Market Crash Of May 6, And Threatens To Destroy The Entire Market At Any Moment

How HFT Quote Stuffing Caused The Market Crash Of May 6, And Threatens To Destroy The Entire Market At Any Moment

Courtesy of Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge 

Even as the idiots at the SEC mope about cluelessly, confirming they deserve not one cent of taxpayer money to fund their massively overbloated budget, and should all be summarily fired to collect tarballs in the Gulf of Mexico (and soon Maine), our friends at Nanex have conducted an exhaustive analysis (must read for everybody concerned about market structure), in which they identify the various parties responsible for the market crash, and, drumroll please, High Frequency Trading stands at the pinnacle of culprits for the 1,000 point Dow drop. From their findings: "While analyzing HFT (High Frequency Trading) quote counts, we were shocked to find cases where one exchange was sending an extremely high number of quotes for one stock in a single second: as high as 5,000 quotes in 1 second! During May 6, there were hundreds of times that a single stock had over 1,000 quotes from one exchange in a single second. Even more disturbing, there doesn’t seem to be any economic justification for this. In many of the cases, the bid/offer is well outside the National Best Bid/Offer (NBBO). We decided to analyze a handful of these cases in detail and graphed the sequential bid/offers to better understand them. What we discovered was a manipulative device with destabilizing effect."

In other words: enough with all the bullshit about HFT as a liquidity provider mechanism: in reality this is just a facade for the most insidious, computerized market manipulative device ever created. Nanex’ conclusion: "What benefit could there be to whomever is generating these extremely high quote rates? After thoughtful analysis, we can only think of one. Competition between HFT systems today has reached the point where microseconds matter. Any edge one has to process information faster than a competitor makes all the difference in this game. If you could generate a large number of quotes that your competitors have to process, but you can ignore since you generated them, you gain valuable processing time. This is an extremely disturbing development, because as more HFT systems start doing this, it is only a matter of time before quote-stuffing shuts down the entire market from congestion. We think it played an active role in the final drop on 5/6/2010, and urge everyone involved to take…
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