SPY Option Quote Stuffing Or Explaining Today's 25 Point S&P Levitation

Tyler Durden's picture

The major compression in VIX into the close combined with a complete lack of JPY-based carry-driver for the equity market comeback today has many asking just what happened? Though the mechanism for quote-stuffing or momentum ignition in this case is unclear - one thing is absolutely crystal clear - today's total and utter explosion in the quote volume for SPY options provides more than a little concern for just what this market has become. As Nanex notes, over 1.1 billion quotes for SPY Options were posted today as 'quote spam' seems to be serving as some kind of parasitic momentum spark. The point here is that just as the market's flash-crash occurred on a day in which quote-stuffing in cash stocks hit a record; so today we got the inverse flash-smash higher in stocks from a surge in quotes on the far-more levered options market. Just look at these charts!!


Simply put - this spamming in the levered options market explains how the S&P 500 can leviate 25 points on low volume amid every other risk-asset's almost total nonchalence...

Via Nanex,

Obviously, no one at the SEC is paying attention. There should be an immediate review of recently proposed or added (10 share contracts) option contract types. In addition, a moratorium on new option's exchanges until this alarming explosion of unwanted quote spam is addressed. 

1. SPY Options Quotes - Daily Counts. Note, the scale is in millions.
Over 1.1 billion option quotes in a day for just one equity symbol.

3. SPY Options Trades - Daily Counts. Note the scale in the chart above (quotes) is in Millions.
Where are the trades? Maybe it's harder to execute trades in a sea of quotes.


3. SPY Options Quote/Trade Ratio.
The number of quotes for every trade is accelerating at an alarming rate.

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hubris's picture

The credit market (HY20) had stabilized and in fact moved materially higher before the equity rip, so it's hard to say that it was just equities alone.

CrashingDollars's picture

>hard to say that it was just equities alone

It was magic

BandGap's picture

No, it's smoke and mirrors. You have to see through it, it is all there.

Aguadulce's picture

Better levitator:  Criss Angel or the S&P?

kaiserhoff's picture

No Mystery, Tyler.

Cheapest way to pimp the market, er, pump the market, uh, same difference.

AldousHuxley's picture

Putin divorces wife

Russia is America

America is Russia

Manthong's picture

A market is a terrible thing to waste.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


Obviously, no one at the SEC is paying attention.

Unfair accusation. No one at the SEC is paying attention to securities exchanges.

Glasnost's picture

It's getting there.  Especially once he keels over.

RockyRacoon's picture

If Santelli isn't all over this tomorrow, he's a shill.

jcaz's picture

LOL- no it's not-  the credit market didn't produce the psycho ramp-up in SPY quotes/trade ratio.....

jcaz's picture

LOL- yeah, it's just humorous anymore.....

YC2's picture

this is a dog with a deceptively strong tail

max2205's picture

Should have been a great day for my trades but it was brutal and I never shorted..fuck

ParkAveFlasher's picture

These charts look like Maria B's false eyelashes.

Dr. Engali's picture

Tapering my ass. The only thing the Bernspank is tapering is the shit flying out of his mouth.

fonzannoon's picture

Doc are you really an interested buyer here?

I was for about a second. I think this was just a false start.

Dr. Engali's picture

Yeah but I didn't go crazy. I believe the shorts will get squeezed again. I for one don't think the Bernank will allow them that pleasure.

CrashisOptimistic's picture

When HFT is 80% of volume, why care abaout shorts or longs or traders at all.  They more or less don't exist, and if they do exist, it is in numbers too few to matter.

There is no market.  Everyone here knows it, but everyone here thinks they should be involved.

Stop.  Just stop.  It's all HFT.  You're not going to beat HFT.

Get your money out and buy farmland.  And rent a farmer to farm it.  Calories are fungible dividends.

fonzannoon's picture

You are telling a guy (or two) who spent years building a business to just close up shop and do something else.

Ain't happening.

We both, in our own ways, make it known to the people we deal with, what we feel is prudent. In a way, most of them are trapped anyway through retirement plans etc. and just want someone to guide them. If it ain't us it will be some snake oil salesman.

john39's picture

the entire world is trapped in 'their' system...  and there is no easy exit.  but at some point, exit we must, or the enslavement will be irreversible.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

it is happening. You don't get a choice. You go with what you have or you lose it all.

stocktivity's picture

He's not tapering that either...just the direction of the shit flying out of his mouth.

nqs_alpha's picture

am i reading this right? around  14,000 quotes for each trade? and is that spike around 2011 right around the 'flash crash'? simply ... amazing ... and no one goes to jail fro this manipulation ? ... oh i forgot ... first they need to get corzine right?


alien-IQ's picture

Of you steal baby formula from a wal mart to feed your starving child, you go to jail.

If you steal 6 billion dollars from investors, they make you ambassador to Israel.

nope-1004's picture

Give me a gun and I'll rob a bank.  Give me a bank and I'll rob the world.


The fact that the SEC "obviously doesn't care" is because the FED runs the SEC.  SEC is powerless when the FED is intent on gaming the system to their advantage or their outcome.

There is no market.  There is an illusion.  You gotta know that at some point the entire fucking thing is going to blow up in their face - and ours!


MeelionDollerBogus's picture

They'll get Corzine... to Chair the SEC! :D

BandGap's picture

You have to bury the real data in a shitload of noise. C'mon, you should be able to create a function (mathematical derivative) to show how this worked. 

Rainman's picture

It's called dropping the bait hook into the middle of the chum....the fishermen will know what I mean.

fonzannoon's picture

There is no market. Every piece of data is now leaked early every single time. The ramps are so obvious it's not even worth pointing them out. CNBC spent hours today wondering why a hedge fund being indicted for insider trading has not performed as well as the market has SINCE THEY OBVIOUSLY HAD TO STOP INSIDER TRADING.

It can't get anymore stupid, and it can't get anymore fake.

Dr. Engali's picture

Did you see that the ten year tagged and tested 2% today? I didn't notice it until later on. I thought it was an interesting test.

fonzannoon's picture

i saw 2.03%.

That is the irony.  If it breaks below 2% I think people start buying. At 2.15 I think it gets capped. Everyone sells.

I think we bang around in this range until we break one way or the other. If we break lower it's only because data has to be horrendous or Japan really blows up. I don't know if that is enough to send stocks higher anymore. It prob is.

If we break higher stocks get creamed.....So why would we break higher?

My guess is Bernanke's legacy. Remember Greenspan moved rates up on his way out as a handoff to the next guy. I wonder if Bernanke's bullshit taper is just him trying to give some breathing room to the next guy so they can immediately launch some new bullshit program and drop yields and hope for more bubbles so we can keep on extending and pretending. If the market drops 20% from here on our way to 2.75% on the ten year the Bernak can still say he got a round tripper during his tenure and was a hawk on his way out.

CrashisOptimistic's picture

The 10 year moves with JPY.  If we get a bad jobs number tomorrow, the dollar will crash (aka yen will get stronger, maybe crack below 95).  That could take the 10 year well south of 2%.

If they airbrush the number favorable, we'll go back to 2.12, until next week when Fed buying of yen re-asserts itself and drives the 10 yr south of 2% . . . .

It was only a few weeks ago we spoke of negative NOMINAL 10 year rates.  Nothing has changed.  Might still be coming.

fonzannoon's picture

I agree completely about Japan. I still say if their bond market blows up, I think it sends our yields soaring. If their stock market completely implodes, our yields drop big time.

They are a complete wildcard.

NoDebt's picture

If their bond market "blows up" it's time to head for the bunker and break out the canned beans.  Very few major financial institutions around the world could withstand the shockwaves (because it would almost instantly ignite counterparty failures, not just direct-holder failures).  I think it would be a "planet killer."

If their stock market tanks I couldn't offer much opinion other than to say the worldwide effects would likely be much more muted.


fonzannoon's picture

I agree completely nodebt. Although I wonder if their stock market tanking this time ends up leading them to the same currency collapse that the bond market collapse will definitely lead them to.

Godisanhftbot's picture

 sac advertised for brokers to bring them private info. right there in the promo materials. at least they were up front about it. 


 probably too many brokers for them to take to dinner and surrepticiously 'pitch', so they printed it up.

SPAREPARTS's picture

I dont know enough about the process, why is this bad?

trippy64's picture

www.buzzfeed.com is over ther, perhaps it is more your speed.

MarsInScorpio's picture

Don't be a jerk to someone trying to get educated. The whole problem is low-information voters/investors - let this person try to become a high-information voter/investor.


Your attitude is why you are getting down arrowed to death.


Get with the program.


therover's picture

Well said MarsinScorpio.

Since the scumbag oligarches want/need low-information voters/investors, it is always worth while to educate anyone asking questions about the market/finances and trying to learn (heck, I learn a hell of a lot everyday reading the articles on ZH and the subseguent responses of some of our esteemed members).

High information voters/investors scare the shit out of the above mentioned scumbags.

Let us all try to encourage more and more people to become HIVI's (just made that up but please take credit Marsin) and help them as best we can. 


Pareto's picture

You're trying to talk sense to somebody who doesn't have the intellectual capacity to actually give a fuck.

alien-IQ's picture

Imagine you are buying something at an auction. You want to own it so you place a bid, then 14,000 bids suddenly flood the auction for the same item...but none of those bidders had any intention of actually buying. The only purpose it served was to get you to place a much higher bid.

That's why it's bad. By another name, this is also known as fraud.

Does that help?