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
As the charts last week indicated might happen, the S&P 500 has fallen four straight days and failed to hold its breakout above 1800 while the Dow Jones Industrials lost 16,000. Only the NASDAQ is still holding on to its breakout above 4000. Although the Basic Materials sector was the leader on Wednesday, the Technology sector was strong, as well, and in fact Tech stocks have been the strongest over the past week and the past month.
As markets finally show a willingness to pullback somewhat from their torrid pace, the bears are trotting out every naysayer they can lay their hands on to scare investors away, including smart folks like Carl Icahn, who is “very cautious,” and Nobel Prize winner Robert Shiller and his stock market “bubble” assertions. Sure, valuations are high on a historic...
Global nutrition company Herbalife (NYSE: HLF), welcomes the judgment by a Belgian Appeal Court that states the company's sales model is in full compliance with Belgian law. This judgment overturns a previous ruling by the lower court, in response to claims brought by Belgian consumer organization Test-Aankoop, that Herbalife was operating a pyramid scheme.
Herbalife always believed that the first judgment contained factual errors and was based on misinterpretations of its direct-selling sales method, and was confident that the original judgment would be overturned on appeal.
Herbalife continues to focus on supporting its independent distributors and their customers in Belgium, and the company remains committed to an op...
The absurd “War on Gold” that India has launched this year has been covered many times on this site. From the moment I read about it, it was obvious that if Indians want their gold, the Indians will have their gold. You can’t break thousands of years of tradition and culture because of the ignorant whims of a few bureaucrats.
Earlier today, Reuters published an article detailing the exten...
One of my favorite long-term economic indicators has been the historical pattern of vehicle miles driven. I post a monthly update on the topic shortly after the Department of Transportation's Office of Highway Information publishes its latest data on Traffic Volume Trends.
My preferred way to analyze the data is on a per-capita basis, so I was particularly interested in a study release earlier today by U.S. PRIG on the decline of driving in major cities.
Here is an excerpt from the press release:
The report, "Transportation in Transition: A Look at Changing Travel Patterns in America's Biggest Cities," is ba...
GES – Guess? Inc. – Shares in apparel and accessories retailer Guess are trading lower on Wednesday ahead of the company’s third-quarter earnings report after the closing bell. Options changing hands on the stock during morning trading indicates some traders are bracing for shares to potentially drop to the lowest level since early-October by December expiration. The stock currently trades down 2.0% on the day at $33.24 just before 11:30 a.m. EST.
Around 1,700 of the Dec $29 strike put options have changed hands on GES so far today, more than two time...
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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.
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These rallies are becoming familiar. In early July we saw a streak of 12 of 13 sessions in a row up, early September 11 of 12, and mid October 11 of 13 (current streak). It is a bit uncanny the similarities and how the escalator goes straight up in vertical ascent as we see indexes come out of mini corrections during QE. So we are about at the same stage where the last two began to tire, so it will be interesting if this is similar or if the current consensus of the market that there is nothing to worry about until next year as the Fed and D.C. are both off the table and this 3% annual growth rate in earnings we are now seeing in the S...
Welcome to the fouth update of the IRA Virtual Portfolio. First I am going to summarize the current state of the Portfolio then I will get into all the activity we had during September expiration.
Profit and Loss – Net of closed positions the portfolio is up a total of $769
Market Commentary – Last expiration I said, "I would like to put a total of $20,000 to work by the end of SEP expiration. If the VIX pops up to around 20 I plan to put about $50,000 total to work." The market didn't quite reach the goal but I did manage to deploy $15,000 of buying power. I still feel the market is too high and expect a correction during October. If the vix pops up to around 20 I still plan to put about $50,000 to work. If a correction doesn't happen I still plan to have a total of $25,000 in buying power put to work by October expiration. Now on to the act...
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Come and get it! Read all about it! Biotechs, biotechs and more biotechs to buy buy buy for your portfolio! To date, almost 30 biotech companies have hit the market. Most of the time, there are fewer than 10-12!
For the last five years, biotechs have had issues obtaining offer prices above expectations. In 2013, that trend looks to be broken. According to BiotechNow, the offer prices are 4% above expectations! In addition, biotechs are going public with little more than a wing and a prayer (pre-clinical or Phase 1 data only). Really? What this means is that the drug or technology looks good in mice, rats, or dogs, etc, but there is no smidgen of evidence that it will work in humans. That's what is called an appitite for RISK!
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