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Posts Tagged ‘what is high frequency program trading’

Sense on Cents Interviews Joe Saluzzi Regarding High Frequency Program Trading

Posted by Larry Doyle on July 29th, 2009 7:07 AM |

High frequency program trading is the single hottest topic on Wall Street today. No individual has generated greater focus on this topic than Joe Saluzzi of Themis Trading.

I look forward to interviewing Mr. Saluzzi this Sunday evening, August 2nd from 8-9pm on NoQuarter Radio’s Sense on Cents with Larry Doyle.

This show will comprehensively cover the gamut of issues and topics involved in this highly controversial trading activity. Does high frequency program trading engage in front-running? Are retail and institutional investors disadvantaged? Are the exchanges and regulators looking the other way? What were the developments in the marketplace which brought us to this point?

NQR’s Sense on Cents with Larry Doyle will address these questions and more with the man ‘in the arena’ and at the center of the debate, Joe Saluzzi.

The show is available as a podcast on iTunes, and also archived in an audio player right here at Sense on Cents so it should serve as a tremendous informational resource as we continue to navigate the economic landscape.

Please share with friends and colleagues.

LD

Editor’s Note, 8.03.09: For a full review of this broadcast, please visit Review of Sense on Cents Interview with Joe Saluzzi on High Frequency Trading.

Related Sense on Cents Commentary:

High Frequency Trading Debate: Mano a Mano (July 24, 2009)

Is Uncle Sam Manipulating the Equity Markets? (July 1, 2009)

Wall Street Has a Problem as High Frequency Trading Moves to Main Street

Posted by Larry Doyle on July 24th, 2009 6:54 AM |

I am not here to rain on the parade, but I do think developments overnight have the potential to dramatically change the nature of our markets if not our economy. I am referring to issues surrounding high frequency program trading.

Until now, the debate over high frequency trading has largely been relegated to Wall Street periodicals, financial news outlets, and blogs, including Sense on Cents.

Well, this morning America awakens to see this high frequency debate course across the front page of The New York Times, Traders Profit With Computers Set at High Speed:

It is the hot new thing on Wall Street, a way for a handful of traders to master the stock market, peek at investors’ orders and, critics say, even subtly manipulate share prices.

It is called high-frequency trading — and it is suddenly one of the most talked-about and mysterious forces in the markets.

Powerful computers, some housed right next to the machines that drive marketplaces like the New York Stock Exchange, enable high-frequency traders to transmit millions of orders at lightning speed and, their detractors contend, reap billions at everyone else’s expense.

These systems are so fast they can outsmart or outrun other investors, humans and computers alike. And after growing in the shadows for years, they are generating lots of talk.

Nearly everyone on Wall Street is wondering how hedge funds and large banks like Goldman Sachs are making so much money so soon after the financial system nearly collapsed. High-frequency trading is one answer.

This article is likely sweeping the globe at this very minute and, in my opinion, is particularly devastating in its tone and delivery . . . and justifiably so.

I can only imagine the commentary this evening at the local Rotary Club, Knights of Columbus, Lions Club, town carnivals, and church fairs. Probably something along these lines:

“Have you heard how Wall Street is screwing us?”

“I knew that game was never on the up and up.”

“What a bunch of thieves.”

Without entering into a debate over the merits or lack thereof of this high frequency program trading, I think Wall Street has a huge problem on its hands. Why? A question of fundamental fairness. With the publication and dissemination of this article, try to explain to the average Joe looking to buy 50 shares of IBM how he is being treated equitably.

As the New York Times reports:

“You want to encourage innovation, and you want to reward companies that have invested in technology and ideas that make the markets more efficient,” said Andrew M. Brooks, head of United States equity trading at T. Rowe Price, a mutual fund and investment company that often competes with and uses high-frequency techniques. “But we’re moving toward a two-tiered marketplace of the high-frequency arbitrage guys, and everyone else. People want to know they have a legitimate shot at getting a fair deal. Otherwise, the markets lose their integrity.” (LD’s highlight)

What do you think? Please share your thoughts and opinions.

LD

Related Commentary

Is Uncle Sam Manipulating the Markets?  July 1, 2009

Is Uncle Sam Manipulating the Markets?  Part II July 6, 2009

Is Uncle Sam Manipulating the Markets?  Part III July 8, 2009

Why High Frequency Program Trading Smells  July 14, 2009

High Frequency Trading: Point-Counterpoint July 17, 2009

Is Uncle Sam Manipulating the Equity Markets?
Part III

Posted by Larry Doyle on July 8th, 2009 6:47 AM |

Kudos to the blog Zero Hedge for highlighting the questionable nature of the technical flows in the equity market that have occurred via high frequency program trading.

Massive kudos to Joe Saluzzi of Themis Trading for going public last week on Bloomberg with this story. While Zero Hedge, Sense on Cents, and every other financial blog sit outside the fray, Joe Saluzzi is actually ‘in the arena.’ I commend him for his character and courage in shedding light on this opaque and arcane program trading business. Yesterday on his blog at Themis Trading, Saluzzi wrote a piece entitled “Manipulation?”:

We have talked extensively on our blog and in our white papers about the power of high frequency trading and program trading.  We have noted that these trading strategies can move the market quickly  during the trading day.  We have always suspected that there have been certain major players that can dominate this space.    Now comes the case of the stolen proprietary trading code from Goldman Sachs.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=axYw_ykTBokE

Most interesting in this Bloomberg article is the following statement by Assisitant U.S, Attorney Joseph Facciponti:

“The bank has raised the possibility that there is a danger that somebody who knew how to use this program could use it to manipulate markets in unfair ways,” Facciponti said

Is this an admission by Goldman Sachs that there is the possibility of manipulation in the market?  Does anyone think that this is the only program in the world that can “manipulate” markets?  With all the programmers in the world, we can only imagine how many more manipulative programs are out there.  Now here is the best part according to the assistant U.S. Attorney:

The proprietary code lets the firm do “sophisticated, high- speed and high-volume trades on various stock and commodities markets,” prosecutors said in court papers. The trades generate “many millions of dollars” each year.

Markets are a zero sum game – somebody wins and somebody loses. Where do you think these “many millions of dollars” are coming from?  They are coming from you – the average retail investor and the large institutional investor.  These programs are taking advantage of real order flow and are siphoning off small profits throughout the day that belong in the pockets of the retail investor and the traditional money manager.

So, who is out there to protect you from these “machines” and their army of programmers?  One would think the SEC has your back.  But what did they have to say about high frequency trading.  According to an article in the WSJ (http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20090618-707189.html )

The Securities and Exchange Commission believes institutional money managers are “sophisticated” enough to trade against the machines without further regulation.

“We don’t want to curtail liquidity,” said Gene Gohlke, associate director for the SEC. Gohlke said it’s up to the managers themselves to make sure other traders aren’t manipulating their models.

This story is just at the beginning stages and we here at Themis Trading intend to keep a careful watch on it.

WOW!!! This statement by Mr. Saluzzi is as powerful a condemnation of a Wall Street business practice as I have seen in a long time.

Effectively, Mr. Saluzzi is stating that the high speed program trades ‘front run’ order flow from retail and institutional investors. This practice helps explain the disconnect between the underlying economic fundamentals and the technical support of our equity markets. The SEC has given the practice of program trading its blessing.

This smells.

For those interested in this topic, please reference previous posts by Sense on Cents on this topic:

Is Uncle Sam Manipulating the Equity Markets?

Is Uncle Sam Manipulating the Equity Markets? Part II

Kudos again to Zero Hedge and especially Joe Saluzzi!!

LD






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