You recently approached SEC head Mary Schapiro with some very valid concerns about Flash trading, and the potential for investor abuse by advance looks to select market participants ahead of the general order pool. Your crusade was subsequently enjoined by such equity market luminaries as Robert Greifeld, president and CEO of the Nasdaq Stock Market, who had this to say regarding not just Flash trades in particular, but numerous other components of market topology, whose sole purpose is to obfuscate natural order flow and to provide loopholes for dominant market players to extract inefficiencies (i.e., scalp regular investors) arising from established and SEC-endorsed mechanisms of efficient market circumvention:
"Flash orders, which are a fundamental part of high-frequency trading, are but one symptom of the current evolving market structure. Nasdaq OMX is concerned that the securities industry appears willing to accept more and more ‘darkness’ and limits on the availability of order information. Instead, the policy goal should be clear: to eliminate any order types or market structure policies that do not contribute to public price formation and market transparency.”
"The industry has a unique opportunity at this time to take a hard look at dark order types and the underlying market structure issues that do not support public price information.”
Senator Schumer, while Zero Hedge applauds your initiative, the truth is that the wrongdoing in the context of potential investor market abuse runs far deeper and is much more pervasive than you realize. And while one can highlight the merits of the Op-Ed published in the New York Times earlier by quant titan Paul Wilmott entitled "Hurrying Into The Next Panic" (a recommended read for you and your staff), which notes numerous frightening implications brought about by the domination of Hiqh Frequency Trading, let us stick within the context of advance looks, which is at the basis of your letter seeking the ban of Flash-like behavior.
Zero Hedge would like to highlight that while your letter to Mary Schapiro indicated your concern with such market actors as DirectEdge, BATS and Nasdaq, the truth is there are substantially larger and more dangerous "fish" on which you should focus your attention.
July 24 (Bloomberg) — Senator Charles Schumer asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to ban “flash orders,” saying the transactions give high-speed traders an unfair advantage over other investors.
Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., Bats Exchange Inc. and Direct Edge Holdings Inc. hold these orders for milliseconds, giving their customers the opportunity to gauge demand before traders on other exchanges get the chance to bid, Schumer said in a letter to SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro. Brian Fallon, a spokesman at Schumer’s office, confirmed the authenticity of the letter.
“Flash orders allow certain members of these exchanges to obtain access to order flow information before that information is made available to the public,” Schumer wrote. That allows “those members to use rapid trading programs to trade ahead of those orders and profit from advanced knowledge of buying and selling activity,” he added.
The senator said that if the SEC doesn’t prohibit flash orders, he will introduce legislation that would.
This is my view:
Getting a look at orders before someone else does is commonly called "cheating". The National Market System (NMS) was supposed to prevent that; this was the so-called "innovation" of Nasdaq, remember? No specialists, no balancing of orders to open a stock, all done by computer. Equality of access. Up until it became profitable to make some people more equal. The intent of a public stock exchange is to insure equality of access to information so that the markets are orderly, not rigged.
Using flash order information (or anything else) to front-run is illegal. In all of its forms, this is an extremely serious matter and it must be stopped.
To the extent that these HFT systems are in fact using flash (or other) traffic to get in front of orders and advantage themselves they are dramatically increasing the violence of market moves. A stock trading at $20 that has a bid come in with a limit of $20.10 would normally fill (assuming sufficient depth) at $20; this does not materially move the market. But if a HFT system "sees" that order, steps in front of it and buys up all the
Last week I wrote an article for the Illinois Policy Institute on the hugely unfunded and deteriorating nature of numerous Illinois' pension systems.
I will post the article on Monday.
My article was on on state pension systems, not Chicago's, and was written well ahead of downgrades of Chicago's debt by Moody's on Friday. I was not surprised to see the downgrade.
Let's take a look at some articles on the debt downgrade starting with Chicago Credit Rating Cut by Moody's to Two Steps Above Junk. Chicago had its credit rating cut to within two steps of junk by Moody’s Investors Service because of mounting pension liabilities, underscoring the city’s fiscal stress as Mayor Rahm Emanuel faces an un...
Here is a update in response to a standing request from a couple of sources that I also share with regular visitors to my Advisor Perspectives pages.
The request is for real (inflation-adjusted) charts of the S&P 500, Dow 30, and Nasdaq Composite. In response, I maintain two overlays — one with the nominal price, excluding dividends, and the other with the price adjusted for inflation based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (which is usually just refer to as the CPI). The charts below have been updated through the December 31, 2014 close.
Last week we noted that with the start of Q€ just around the corner, the ECB finds itself in a rather absurd situation. In what we called the ultimate easy money paradox (or, alternatively, the ultimate Keynesian boondoggle), Mario Draghi and crew are doomed to trip over their own policies as they (literally) attempt to monetize twice the net supply of eurozone fixed income this year.
The problem is two-fold: 1) the central bank’s adventures in NIRP-dom mean anyone willing to sell their EGBs would face the truly silly prospect of sending the proceeds right back wher...
Chris Kimble's chart for KOL shows a recently beaten down ETF struggling to pull itself up from the ashes. As the chart shows, KOL has recently drifted down to levels not seen since the financial crisis of 2008-9.
Bouncing or recovering with energy in general, coal prices appear to have stabilized in the short-term. Reflecting coal prices, KOL has traded between $13.45 and $19.75 during the past year. Bouncing from lows, KOL traded around 2% higher yesterday from $14.26 to $14.48 on high volume. It traded another 3.6% higher in after hours to $15, possibly related to ...
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Stocks are hitting new highs across the board, even though earnings reports have been somewhat disappointing. Actually, to be more precise, Q4 results have been pretty good, but it is forward guidance that has been cautious and/or cloudy as sales into overseas markets are expected to suffer due to strength in the US dollar. Healthcare and Telecom have put in the best results overall, while of course Energy has been the weakling. Still, overall year-over-year earnings growth for the S&P 500 during 2015 is expected to be about +8%.
In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 cha...
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PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs! The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down! The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months. What could go wrong?
Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.
Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies. A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...
Stocks got off to a rocky start on the first trading day in December, with the S&P 500 Index slipping just below 2050 on Monday. Based on one large bullish SPX options trade executed on Wednesday, however, such price action is not likely to break the trend of strong gains observed in the benchmark index since mid-October. It looks like one options market participant purchased 25,000 of the 31Dec’14 2105/2115 call spreads at a net premium of $2.70 each. The trade cost $6.75mm to put on, and represents the maximum potential loss on the position should the 2105 calls expire worthless at the end of December. The call spread could reap profits of as much as $7.30 per spread, or $18.25mm, in the event that the SPX ends the year above 2115. The index would need to rally 2.0% over the current level...
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
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