More Observations On HFT's Tyranny Of Stock Markets
Anywhere one turns these days, bashing HFT is the new market normal. Having written 150 articles on the topic, beginning in April 2009, we are happy to have brought the world's attention to this most dangerous of market aberrations. Yet until the SEC finally bans the practices of micro churning, quote stuffing, positive feedback loop chasing, flash trading, subpennying, DMA accessing, and all other aspects conceived merely to provide some market participants with an unfair advantage over everyone else, the fight against HFT must continue. Which is why we draw your attention to two items: the first is a paper by Bluemont Capital "The Marginalizing of the Individual Investor" in which the authors question if HFT has distorted true market valuation (yes) and to what degree. Some relevant soundbites: "Unfortunately, high-frequency trader interaction with computerized algorithms of large-cap financial institutions is providing opportunities for high-speed, virtually undetectable market manipulation", "At a minimum, computerized high-frequency and algorithmic trading are undermining traditional value investing strategies. Short-term liquidity and data movements are distorting information on real business performance", "Essentially, high-frequency trading platforms function as positive feedback loops. Engineers treat positive feedback loops as inherently unstable, as each positive response generates stepped-up repetition of the same actions. Positive feedback loops result in an ever- expanding balloon, but like all balloons, the risk of bursting increases with the balloon’s size", and concludes that the "continuing advances in computerized trading pose challenges for regulators throughout the world—and leave individual investors marginalized... Regulators should not only seek to assure that markets are able to continue to function under stress, but they also need to devise remedial actions that protect individual investors who have fundamentally different objectives from the high-turnover objectives of high frequency traders and computerized algorithms." The other notable item is the appearance of our friends at Nanex on ABC radio over in Australia, where firm founder Eric Hunsader discusses the previously highlighted concepts of latency arbitrage as a potential progenitor to the May 6 crash, as well as possible ways that the NBBO arbitrage could have provided for unfair and illegal mispricing opportunities for a select few.
And some other interesting HFT tidbits, again thanks to ABC:
h/t Themis Trading