Adobe Flash Smash

Tyler Durden's picture

Who says flash crashes only take stock prices to zero (or somewhere thereabouts). Adobe just flash smashed, triggering circuit breakers, but to the upside, as this time the HFT algo that goes apeshit lifts every offer. Following the unhalting, the stock has resumed trading somewhat normally again: we will let you know which trades the exchanges decide to cancel momentarily. Of course, we can't decide if it is more surprising that a circuit breaker actually worked for once, or that Waddell & Reed has not yet been implicated in this roughly 20th flash crash following May 6 (we will compile a full list of all HFT-triggered crashes soon). We hope to provide Nanex's explanation of which particular exchange malfunctioned on this one shortly.

The reason for the initial spike is the following speculation by the NYT:

Steven A. Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, recently showed up with a small entourage of deputies at Adobe’s corporate offices in San Francisco to hold a secret meeting with Adobe’s chief executive, Shantanu Narayen.

The meeting, which lasted over an hour, covered a number of topics, but one of the main thrusts of the discussion was Apple and its control of the mobile phone market and how the two companies could partner in the battle against Apple. A possible acquisition of Adobe by Microsoft were among the options.

The New York Times learned about these meetings through employees and consultants to the companies who were involved in the discussions that took place or familiar with their organization, all of whom asked not to be identified as they are unauthorized to speak publicly by Microsoft or Adobe. Those involved in the meeting, from its logistical set up to the discussion that took place between the two companies, were instructed to stay very quiet about the two companies holding council.

Yeah, small entourage appearing at a competitor HQ for a "secret meeting" to discuss an acquisition. Riiiiiight.

Oddly enough, there was no discussion of an LBO of radioshack by the powerful pro-forma MSFTADBE empire. But yes, algos are all about the rumormill.

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bugs_'s picture

I'll have an Unhalting on the Rocks with a lime twist.

Sudden Debt's picture






And I'm not even mentioning my OPEN puts!!!!


New_Meat's picture

did they break the trade  yet?  Just wondering? - Ned

tecno242's picture

I think it would be hilarious if they let the buys stand.  LOL

Here HFT.. enjoy your Adobe stock you bought for 800K a share.



TraderTimm's picture

The algo must've had a misplaced ">" symbol in there somewhere. Dang logic inversion.

Clark_Griswold Hedge Mnger's picture

Sorry Tyler,

It was me.  I was at their web site downloading adobe to update my web porn viewing browser (to be current with SEC content) when it went crazy and triggered Waddle & Reed to sell 3.5 e-minis of the state of Sub Conscious which caused the sudden spike.

JohnnyR2121's picture


"U.S. households have $70 trillion in assets," Sumerlin explained during a live interview. "And the Fed essentially needs to buy enough Treasurys and mortgages that you can get a bid on all those other assets. And when you have leakage in the international system it takes a pretty big amount to be successful. To me, it starts to get interesting at six to seven trillion dollars."

The Fed could outbid Microsoft for Adobe too. 


homersimpson's picture

Looks like I didn't just press "any" key...

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

So do they set the DK line at 10% above the average price in the hour before? Or because people "made" money, is everything AOK?

Just askin'

BTW Tyler it's "Flash Dash". Feel free to use it royalty free. :>)

TraderTimm's picture

Haha, "Flash Dash". Brilliant.


LeBalance's picture

its scary how you read my mind. :)

RobotTrader's picture

Don't forget the flash crash that never recovered.....



MountainMan's picture

ADBE (Adobe Systems) trading up 9% on chatter the MSFT might take over ADBE

Internet Tough Guy's picture

Since when does Apple control the mobile phone market? They aren't even number 1.

TraderMark's picture

Here is an intraday chart of dollar vs "everything that moves on earth". The STOOPID market in pictures.  If your IQ exceeds 25, please exit the market

LongSoupLine's picture

"I am an algo program, and I invented Windows7"

NotApplicable's picture

"And unlike Apple, I promote Adobe Flash."

LeBalance's picture

Oh Lord! The Brazilians intervened in dollars alright, but not dollars for rial.


Cui Bono's picture

So let me get this straight... Each Adobe share was worth a Brazilian for like 8 seconds???

goldmiddelfinger's picture

Why edit out the week at $35? Because it makes the bullish chart look not so bullish.

New_Meat's picture

As Suzy asked Ms. Smyth: "how do you make it last eight seconds?"

cougar_w's picture

Looks like more insider trading, except with the TurboBoost Profit-o-maximus robotrader option enabled. Don't these guys ever give it a rest?

williambanzai7's picture

Yet another Waddell Event

slaughterer's picture

Do not forget to include POZN on "The ZH Complete List of Flash Crashes"--took place just a few days before the market flash crash.   POZN was the practice run...


Arkadaba's picture

Given how often Adobe flash has crashed my browser .... no one deserves it more

Precious's picture

Microsoft hosts Adobe meeting?  Misery loves company.

max2205's picture

In the old days it would have gone up 30%.

sysin3's picture

MSFT + ADBE = a virus that eats itself

williambanzai7's picture

Those involved in the meeting, from its logistical set up to the discussion that took place between the two companies, were instructed to stay very quiet about the two companies holding council.

Right, stay very quiet. Thats a good thought. Which genius thought of that one?

tmosley's picture

You think that's bad, that's nothing.  I got a real nasty flash rash after I had sex with Bernanke's mother.

mule65's picture

Whoops! Alaska Air (ALK) -- $49.2 to $44.8 in a nanosecond.  Albeit news.

NotApplicable's picture

Meh, just some minor turbulence.

plocequ1's picture

Possible microsoft acquisition.

goldmiddelfinger's picture

ADBE down 15 percent in last 3 weeks

Ieetseelmeet's picture

This is getting nuts!

Uncertified programmers writing code without checking for any typos compiling crap administered by recent quant school grads saying lets try this and see what happens.

All algorithms should be registered with the SEC.

Just like all doctors and architects and engineers and lawyers are registered, so should all who write code and plug into the mainframe at any exchange.

The code can be kept proprietary but it should be registered like any other instrument being trader or in this case doing the trade.

Code and their writers should be registered and copies of the code presented to the SEC for a determination of eligibility.

The CFO of the trading company should sign off on it everyday to say he is responsible for any damages incurred  to any traders due to their software malfunction.


NotApplicable's picture

All algorithms should be registered with the SEC.


Why, so Goldman can front run them all?

TheAkashicRecord's picture

The FlashSmash(TM) algo is my IP, you must pay me royalties to use it.  The FlashSmash(TM) algo in collaboration with the FlashCrash(TM), also part of my IP portfolio, can cause great fun in the market for you and your fellow tradercriminals!

Arkadaba's picture

It is that bad. I'm on LinkedIn and because I'm a perl hack (self taught), because I know a little bit about data mining, because I have rudimentary knowledge of Java  and because I list financial as a hobby, I have been approached  by recruiters looking to fill positions in companies developing HFTs. I would love to do it as a research project but know that I do not have the programming skills to make it production ready. It does seem to be a bit of the wild west in HFT these days.

TraderTimm's picture

Do it, then just backdoor their settlements to funnel fractions of the trade to your own personal swiss bank account. A million pennies equals $10,000 - spread it around some of the more hyper-trading methods or up your take. Sounds like financial justice to me.

Fred Hayek's picture

Wait.  Isn't that Office Space?  And Superman 3?

TraderTimm's picture

It'll be the Office Space sequel: Lumbergh's Billions