You have no idea just how bonkers high-frequency trading is making the stock market until you actually see it in action.
A terrifying new video by the research firm Nanex offers just such an opportunity: It shows one half-second of trading in just one stock, boring old Johnson & Johnson, on May 2. The video slows down the trades so that the milliseconds — thousandths of a second — tick slowly by, and so that human eyes can comprehend what’s happening.
What you see is trading gone haywire, hopelessly beyond the control of any regulators that might want to make sure all of these trades are legitimate. This flood of trading confuses even other machines, creating mismatches in orders that high-speed traders can exploit, millisecond by millisecond.
“These guys are not stealing dollars, they’re stealing pennies,” says Nanex founder Eric Hunsader, who presented the video at a recent Wired conference. “It’s like paper cuts instead of first-degree murder.”
Nanex is the same firm that produced a viral animated GIF last year showing the rise of high-frequency trading robots over the years. This video offers the first clear look at what those robots are doing every day, all day, now that they control more than half of all market volume.
In this episode, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert look at central banking meth heads and low level broker-dealer-thieves drinking the hand sanitizer that is the high frequency scalping of the last dregs of equity left in the markets. They also ask whether the US has it in for British banks. In the second half, Max Keiser talks to Peter Antonioni, author of the Economics for Dummies, about the policy of quantitative easing as economic homeopathy – it only works on the grounds that you believe it works and about the UK monetizing its debt after transferring QE ‘surpluses’ from the Bank of England to the Treasury.
Gerald Celente, the founder of the Trends Research Institute, at the Marriott Hotel in Munich, Germany, on November 3rd, 2012. Celente was holding a presentation later on on the Internationale Edelmetall- und Rohstoffmesse, the largest precious metals conference in Europe. You can find Gerald Celente at trendsresearch.com and trendsjournal.com.
This past Friday, on the 25th anniversary of Black Monday, Bill Gross warned that in the current centrally-planned market “central bank puts” are the modern day equivalent of “portfolio insurance”, and he is right. By sending complacency to record levels, and essentially forcing investors to no longer worry, hedge and generally ignore tail risk, the central planners, in their futile attempts to reflate stocks at all costs, are guaranteeing that the market will experience just the type of fat tail event they promise will never occur. As for the catalyst that will make sure of it is none other than our old friend: high frequency trading. Because while central planning is the mechanism by which investing is dragged away from mean reversion, price clearing and fair value discovery, it is HFT that is Bernanke’s analogue in the millisecond trading world (as all those who had stop limit orders (that did not get DKed) on May 6, 2010 very well remember). Because when the next Black ___day does happen, it will be due to central planning, but it will be enacted courtesy of HFT (which will never go away until the next and probably final market crash: too much exchange revenue depends on the perpetuation of this parasitic liquidity drain).
Which is why it is only appropriate to warn readers that when it comes to system market fragility, at least according to Nanex, whose work ZH first presented nearly two years ago and has since gone mainstream now that HFT is the universal scapegoat of even such legacy media venues as CNBC (it is always better to bash the vacuum tubes than the people who profit, or those who have made a mockery of the stock market – it is not like anything will change anyway), the frequency and magnitude of “wild price spike” events (to put it simply) are now both rising at an exponential rate, and fast approaching Flash Crash levels. Continue reading »
The EU assembly just voted affirmatively to impose a spate of rules to control ‘high-frequency-trading that, as the WSJ reports, was advanced by Germany following their concerns that speedy traders have brought instability to markets. It is somehow reassuring that three-years after we first brought HFT to the mainstream’s agenda, at least one nation is taking it seriously, doing something about it, instead of being filibustered into the ‘liquidity-providing’ meme. The rules will initially require registration, collect fees on excessive use of HFT methods, and install circuit breakers with the goals to “limit the risks associated with high-frequency trading” per a senior German FinMin; but the more stringent rules to come will have the greatest impact as they intend to include requirements for orders to rest on the exchange book for at least half-a-second, and potentially order-to-trade ratio caps. Not surprisingly, the HFTs believe a “one-size-fits-all approach would be very harmful.” Indeed – to their profits. Via WSJ: Germany to Tap Brakes On High-Speed Trading
BERLIN—Germany is set to advance a bill Wednesday imposing a spate of new rules on high-frequency trading, escalating Europe’s sweeping response to concerns that speedy traders have brought instability to the markets.
The measure seeks to require traders to register with Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, collect fees from those who use high-speed trading systems excessively, and force stock markets to install circuit breakers that can interrupt trading if a problem is detected.
“The goal of the German law is to limit the risks associated with high-frequency trading,” he said. Continue reading »