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Bill Buckler: "It's GIGO Time On Wall Street"

Tyler Durden's picture





 

From Bill Buckler, author of The Privateer

It’s "GIGO" Time On Wall Street

“GIGO” means Garbage In - Garbage Out. It is a particularly apt acronym in computer programmer circles. According to the Wikipedia: “It is used primarily to call attention to the fact that computers will unquestioningly process the most nonsensical of input data (‘garbage in’) and produce nonsensical output (‘garbage out’).” Trading desks on Wall Street, in the City of London and all over the global financial system have been happily ignoring GIGO for a very long time now.

Four years ago in 2008, the “computer models” which had made the big investment banks huge piles of money turned around and savaged them as the entire credit system froze up. The programmers who had installed the trading software on the computers of the traders had never seen such a thing so they made no provision for it. The problem then and the problem now is that without the capability of computers and their “models”, most of the methods of modern market trading would simply not be possible. The vast majority of all trading is done via computers. The most popular of these methods, “high frequency trading”, did not get properly started until late 1999, just as the markets were peaking. The most recent surveys show that in the US, high frequency traders represent 2 percent of all financial trading firms but contribute almost 75 percent of market volume. All of this is ENTIRELY dependent on computers.

Here is the conclusion of a US study of computer-generated trading recently concluded: “Financial markets are alive, but a model, however beautiful, is an artifice. ...To confuse the model with the world is to embrace future disaster driven by the belief that humans obey mathematical rules.” The powers that be have been embracing future disaster on this belief in a manner which goes far beyond financial markets. But in that shrunken context, individuals everywhere have already abandoned that belief. Wall Street and its global counterparts have been trying to do that too, but their problem is that they have nothing to replace it with. The “belief” that humans can be managed by obeying arbitrary rules of any kind is the last bastion of our rulers. It is waning on the financial markets, just as it is everywhere else, with results that no computer program can predict. That’s why the “market model” no longer “works”.

 


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Sun, 06/10/2012 - 14:25 | Link to Comment dizzyfingers
dizzyfingers's picture

Are we surprised?

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 19:26 | Link to Comment Cadavre
Cadavre's picture

Who with a pair would be surprised that HFT are anything other than what they were intended to be from the get go: HFTs are really HFIMs, or High Frequency Illusion  Machines.

The FED transacts with the market through it's primaries.

The "real" HFT systems, the industrial grade HFTs, are owned and operated the primaries. The cost of a trade is zero. A primary's prop desk is not limited to a single account. They have a bunch of accounts. And most of the time they do nothing more than moves assets from account "A" to account "B". Give the fact that the trade as no execution costs, the market initial (market) cost of held assets is never lost, regardless of price to book the asset's transfer to the primary's "B" account.

FMOC minutes are chock full of incriminating evidence, despite the fact "minutes" are not a "transcript". Urs-true has read a few. In one, Greenspan suggested the FED could short treasuries. The FED would not transact the short itself. Instead, the FED pays a margin stand to one of it's primaries. If we think about it, the margin stand for a 20 billion transaction would is a life time's worth of commissions to fixed income brokerages not high enough in the food chain to be a primary. DoT / FED transactions always go through the primary. Meaning, the margin stand charged to those trades represents a loss of funds the DoT underwriters (that be us).

When Greenspan suggests the FED short treasuries, he is essentially stealing liquidity from retirement, state and municipal and Credit Union portfolios to benefit "bankers" trading other USD based assets - the USD is being devalued, through the shorts, for the purpose of driving up prices. When oil was near 150 bucks / BBL, oil supply was in a glut, ships were having to drop anchor and charging buyers storage costs. We all saw the scam - it was more than circular price up trades to increase the cost to Californians to mitigate brownouts predictably created and expensively resolved by Reliant Energy and California's utility agencies.

When the FED , through it's primaries, shorts gold, the intent is to fraudulently temporarily bolster the perceived value of the over suppled counterfeited USDs, the FED printed specifically for selling (shorting) USDs on the FX and drive up prices.

Whose gold is the FED using to write those shorts. Does the FED own it - or is the FED dark pooling shorts with other peoples gold - and then - when it becomes necessary to pay off lien holders, short another pile of someone else's gold and price it down such that the FED can return it to the owner of record..

The FMOC minutes are facts and evidence of RICO violations, period. Can you say Market manipulation" or "currency manipulation"? At some point the world will so awash in USDs it becomes physically and digitally impossible (it would take a 124 bit box to bean count the paper). Will they go that far? Should the republic allow them to go that far?

Last week AG Holder refused (again) to give testimony to Issa regarding the Olley-wood-ish "fast and furious". Funding for DoJ should have cut off right then and Holder impeached. It was just noise hoped to impress the commons that congress was doing thir job. When Holder was a Assit US AG, he lobbied on belhalf of Marc Rich, a "provable" tax evader and "provably" and "criminally" involved in illegal arms sales, for a pardon. AND RICH GOT PARDONED. Now the "Hold" criminally refuses to answer constitutionally sanctioned "oversight"  questions asked by those we employ and have entrusted our authorizations and assignments to, the congession.

When asset classes bleed value and commerce and industry don't have the will or unable to shore up the value of the commerce represented the "asset", through innovation and marketing, the proprietary desk becomes a "prop up" desk, and instead of shorting the asset, short the currency the asset is priced in gets shorted. When that happens every and anybody with USDa in their pockets just had their pockets picked. The paper is still their - it is just more worthless than it was before the pocket was picked.

When the FED sells USDs, iow shorts USDs, or shorts someone else's gold in its vaults to buy back outstanding gold liens to scare gold down so the FED can reacquire gold liens for repatriation or calls, its called market manipulation.

What is OWS? Is it real? Or was it simply manufactured to placate the commons with the impression that the 'american revolutionary spirit is alive and well"? The guy that married the catchup heiress,  Johnny "Boy" Kerry, is claimed to have been an anti war activist is now the drum roller for more war money than the neocons he pretented to protest against. Some of the NeoCon/NeoLiberal's Kerry alleged himself to be "upset" with are sitting next to him right now! And besides, can anybody point to a single "smart" "peaceful" mass protest in human history that resulted in anything except a failure of justice and banner slogans for T-Shirt Sales?

When Lehmans setup retail mortgage counters, like they were :B" payday loan shops,  across the heartland and then allowed mortgages to be taken out by unqualified buyers of over valued property, and then sent the debt to their Wall Street shop to be parsed in to bonds and loaned to other shops in the hood for the same purpose, and then all the f*cks seemingly lie to the rating agencies in the prospectus to put a little lipstick on the pig, every body on the bank side of that bullsh*t was involved in a criminal fraud to extort the the republics treasure.

Ole Fugly is still walking and he got accounts fat with parashoot cash.

Stewart goes to jail for "questionable" 34K$ trade. Corrazine is walking around, and he stole 1.2 Billion bucks from clien accounts.

Still amusing to remember the day on / day off political rants and threats to the rating agencies, kind of just fizzeled away. Why? Because the rating agencies receive legally binding assurances that the prospectuses are materially factual. Rating agencies do not audit the underlying mortgages, The rating agencies rate the prospestus based on legally binding assurances from the bond packaging shop as to the credit worthiness and distributions of the mortgages underlying the bond being rated. Thats all. For a while it looked like congress was gonna sic the Fake Adjudication Group Services team on the the rating agencies - but that never happened,

A vote can't fix this. Insurrection is easily winnable, but too costly. Congress enacts emergency powers acts all th time so ...

Is there a constitutional lawyer in the house?

If so, and hypothetically speaking, of course, would it be legal for americans to sponsor a full page ad demanding our congressional political employees 1) write an emergency powers bill transferring our authorizations to the  nonpolitical civil and uniformed services 2) place all political elected, appointed, relatives and staff on administrative leave 3) all political employees submit to being held in custody as material witnesses of, and or suspects of crimes against the commons and republic, and 4) All lobbyists and bankers where it can be shown influence was purchased through recorded political donations, or un recorded poker winnings 5) formalize a binding framework to establish  a temporary structure for a short term apolitical provisional authority 6) set up a judicial fact finding civil and military services group to investigate and prosecute 7) and change the electoral process to an audit-able paper ballot system.

If ya think about it, the person most qualified, yet most reluctant to accept our authorizations would be the best person for the job. Who can work in congress. Anyone in any American household that can reconcile a check book and not exceed budget is qualified. Politics has become too much of a family business - and just as the founders warned warned when the republic was chartered - a stealth coup has overthrown the government.

Well, hypothetically speaking, could something like that be legally acceptable. The alternative is sticky costly and painful.

It is impossible to propose a restoration without justice for the crimes that delivered this moment. THe time of get out of jail free and continue to prosper from pillaging the commons has absolutely passed.

.... just a thought ...

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 21:01 | Link to Comment Stoploss
Stoploss's picture

I submit GIGOMUNG

Garbage in, garbage out, modified until no good.

 

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 14:26 | Link to Comment williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

Humans don't obey mathematical rules?

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 15:09 | Link to Comment CPL
CPL's picture

I was going to say...

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 16:20 | Link to Comment flacon
flacon's picture

Some people say music and mathematics have a high correlation. 

Ted Kennedy singing in Spanish:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0HKJgq9BYM

 

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 17:37 | Link to Comment Ahmeexnal
Sun, 06/10/2012 - 17:45 | Link to Comment Chief KnocAHoma
Chief KnocAHoma's picture

Bill Buckler? Didn't he play first base for the Red Sox?

I heard he attempted to committ suicide by jumping in front of a city bus,... but the damn thing rolled right between his legs.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 17:53 | Link to Comment James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

Good Ted talk on algo trading for those interested:

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120528-how-algorithms-shape-our-world

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 18:23 | Link to Comment WhiteNight123129
WhiteNight123129's picture

It is not that they have correlation, being myself trained in Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique, here is the deal: You ear is computing logarithms all the time. That is A4 (the A in the middle of the piano) = 440 Hz, (the tuning in the UK and some Orchestras in the US), in Europe and South America is A = 442 Hz. That is 440 (or 442) air vibrations per seconde. The A one octave below is A3 = 220 Hz or 220 air vibrations per second, the A2 is 110 Hz.

To your ear the distance between 110 and 220 is the SAME as from 220 to 440, while numerically the increase in frequency is double. So your ear "computes" quite complex logarithm is a breeze without you knowing it, those computation are completly without you been aware of it. So a tune played one octave above is realized by doubling all frequencies on the fly, a tune played one octave below is realized by dividing all frequencies. A lot of people can do that easily, however the actual computations are quite intense and fast.

 

The chords are a series of notes which themselves observe a certain set of fractions and numbers. The chord 5M is actually the combination of the fundamental and its 3rd and fifth harmonic. The 3rd harmonic is 3 times the fundamental frequency and the 5th is five times. Imperfect fractions naturally sound dissonant to your ear. Your ear is really doing tons of computations. Now obviously if policians knew two and two alone, not even talking about doing logarithm computations on the fly, the world would not be in that mess!!!

 

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 19:05 | Link to Comment Mitzibitzi
Mitzibitzi's picture

Then add in the fact that each ear contains the bio-mechanical equivalent of two compressors - one 'vari-mu' and one multi-band parametric - a multiband EQ, a limiter, a de-esser, several envelope followers and a whole bunch of narrow-band notch filters - all of which can be rewired on the fly into various combinations, in about 20mS, as situations arise. Then add in a signal processor that can compare two signals, one from each ear, and give a decent impression of direction to source, distance to source, size of acoustic space and even a rough idea of the composition of the reflective surfaces sending back the echoes. And the signal processor can learn on the fly, getting better as it goes.

And that's just your ears!

Computers that predict the behaviour of humans! Give me a break!

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 15:26 | Link to Comment Al Gorerhythm
Al Gorerhythm's picture

I failed Math 110.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 16:01 | Link to Comment sablya
sablya's picture

Even the mathematical rules which govern the world around us are too complicated to be comprehended.  Call it chaos or quantum theory, there is a layer which separates the chaotic madness from the seemingly rational which we observe with our naked eyes.

"God does not play dice with the universe!" is Einstein's famous exclamation.  But the fact is that what may be comprehensible to God is not so to us.  Sorry, but that's the prerogative of Deity.  Our statistical models are a way for us to cover over our ignorance of the overwhelming details.  God has no such limitations.

But as Pandora's box allowed chaos to escape from where it was contained into the orderly universe, so too have these MAD MEN in their Versacci suits thrown the door wide open to allow chaos to reign in this world.  They have sown the wind but we will all be forced to reap the whirlwind.  Step by step we inch closer to full-on chaos in our world.  We've seen glimpses of it in Athens, and Spain, but my fear is that will soon become the norm rather than the oddity.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 16:56 | Link to Comment Snidley Whipsnae
Snidley Whipsnae's picture

Excellent observations...

This entire economic episode, from Nixon to now, reminds me of nothing so much as world history from August 1914 untill Hitler siezed power... Chaos increasing constantly untill the climax of WW2.

When has chaos been stopped prior to a destructive, chaotic event?

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 16:59 | Link to Comment BlackholeDivestment
BlackholeDivestment's picture

Everything is fine, just accept the number the market is offering. There is no call to care, your name next to your GIGO account number means nothing. 

Enjoy the Summer. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkYj56LW4ag&feature=related

Your friend, Satan (AKA Mr. Standard GI Poors) 

 

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 17:49 | Link to Comment AurorusBorealus
AurorusBorealus's picture

Very well put.  Civilization and its trappings are a facade in part imposed by force and in part imposed by the mutual will of all men; because of the fear of what is behind the facade.  The financial system is an integral component to maintaining the mutual will that holds the facade in place.  The financial system is the abstraction of man's competition with man for resources, food, shelter, etc.  When the financial system breaks, so does the facade, and the savage beast of man will be unleashed.

 Those in the American "hood," for whom the facade of civilization is a crumbling edifice, have a saying to observe the facade for what it is, "Keep it real."  Things are about to get very real. 

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 17:59 | Link to Comment Town Crier
Town Crier's picture

Mathematics would not fail, but the model would always be vulnerable, as it would have a fixed number of variables when in reality the number of variables is infinite.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 18:00 | Link to Comment Whatta
Whatta's picture

only if the mathematical rules start with a $. for $ rules we are very predictable

otherwse we are unpredictable...unless we are obeying the second rule, and that involves short skirts and shit.

or maybe ther third and final rule we are mostly predictable. it says: if rule one and rule two have been followed and satisfactorily settle, then procede with rule three - Tacos and Margarita's.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 22:06 | Link to Comment sullymandias
sullymandias's picture

"short skirts and shit"? whatever gets you off...

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 14:27 | Link to Comment HomeBrewPrepper
HomeBrewPrepper's picture

Hard wired and trading in the future.

Sounds fair

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 14:28 | Link to Comment DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Bill Buckler is really great, writes very well and is on top of the world's plights.  I wish I could afford the subscription.  His above observations on computer models and "GIGO" are spot-on.  Great article.

Have a look at my take on Barron's this weekend:

"Review of Barron's -- Dated 11 June"

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 17:13 | Link to Comment GeezerGeek
GeezerGeek's picture

A truly talented programmer can go one better than GIGO, taking perfectly good input data (preferably in overwhelming amounts),  applying algorithms supplied by some clueless MBA, and producing indecipherable amounts of Garbage Out. Many of the so-called 'dashboard' applications I've observed at businesses seemed to do this. The most accomplished practioners of this skill all appear to work for the BLS.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 23:18 | Link to Comment RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

I've subscribed to The Privateer since the late 1990s and it has given me the fortitude to keep stacking and stay focused.  Yeah, I've missed market action, but certainly not the lack of any gain in stocks in the last 12 years.   My lowly gold/silver has provided many a good night's sleep.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 14:29 | Link to Comment brodix
brodix's picture

Life is a constantly evolving model. When we load up on too much bad code, we die. That's how nature pushes the reset button.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 14:29 | Link to Comment Bay of Pigs
Bay of Pigs's picture

I love the smell of garbage in the morning

 

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 14:45 | Link to Comment DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

+ 1, Excellent comment!  Short & sweet, brings back a memory or three....

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 14:35 | Link to Comment Debugas
Debugas's picture

i do not understand what model are they talking about ?

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 14:43 | Link to Comment shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

The obvious solution is to ban human trading so then the HFT algos can make money.

HAL 2000 says BUY.

All fixed.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 14:50 | Link to Comment mick_richfield
mick_richfield's picture

Korzybski said back in the 30s or 40s that "The map is not the territory."  It's a standard human mistake, it's real easy, and anyone who thinks that the Powers have been that dumb are themselves guilty of another standard human mistake: that of underestimating the enemy.

In fact, underestimating the enemy is itself a kind of map/territory error: you have a model of what the Powers want.  They want to make money, they want to hold the status quo together.  You look ahead and see that their actions will eventually destroy the status quo, and you say "They're all idiots!  Can't they see the inevitable end of this madness?"

Yes they can.  Don't default to assuming that these people are morons.  Default to assuming that your model of them is wrong, and change your model to fit what you see.  That's sanity.

They know better than you do that this is all going to crash.  Paradigms wear out, and this one is getting mighty rickety.

If you are the Powers, you don't let it just fall down naturally, you detonate it yourself, after positioning yourself to benefit as much as possible, or at least survive.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 15:01 | Link to Comment bankruptcylawyer
bankruptcylawyer's picture

i try to explain this to family members who have reasonable amounts of wealth in the market. thy talk about the long term, and will mention that those who held on to their stocks through the great depression did amazingly well. i tell them that plenty of stocks went out of existence and it was impossible to choose the stocks that didn't get delisted and bankrupt without insider knowledge.

you can't well walk confidently through a minefield if you didn't place the mines there yourself.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 16:17 | Link to Comment AetosAeros
AetosAeros's picture

As the previous poster stated: I try to explain this to my family members...

 yet they still believe that it's because of human error that things are messed up.  You hit it on the head, too many are underestimating; whether it is the perceived enemy or TPTB or Wall Street, these people have a plan. Even if the plan is solely for their own benefit and not a culmination of a 'Master Plan' (insert mental evil laughter here) it is still a plan of which those not part of the details are not privy to. 

I've come to the realization that there are persons and organizations staffed by persons who have a much higher level of intellect than me. And these persons are savvy enough to not be the front men where the world can point fingers at them and villify them for their apparent ignorance of 'How things should be done'. Sometimes we get a glimpse of the real Puppet Master, or sometimes their egos are so large they HAVE to be seen, but then, in pure villaneous fashion; they provide misdirection and rumor to keep their real agendas secret.  The territory.

I don't even attempt to outthink their agendas. I simply look at things in a 'how do I survive, keep my family safe, and provide for their growth in a way that doesn't violate my core principles' then I imagine that I'm a Power That Be and how would I go about causing distress, fear, and hardship for those who are trying to survive. The reason why they are doing it is pretty simple. History is so full of examples I won't broach that sea of turmoil. But I will say that your right- paradigms wear out and the gun has been loaded to take out as much as possible in one shot so as to disrupt everyone enough that they are able to be positioned in a way that we will care less where they are, let alone who they are, when the trigger is pulled.  And when they reemerge time will do as time has done in humans minds over the centuries, it will erase the sureness we had about their evil intentions, and they will have enough doubt placed about their individual culpability, that we will just let bygones be bygones and attempt to rebuild.

Should the collapse come in our lifetimes, I am sure that after the initial few months, no one who is working on surviving will even attempt to hunt down and exact a truly deserved vengeance on those responsible, as survival and rebuilding will take up the majority of our daily endeavors. Besides, TPTB have had the last 10 years to prepare their fortresses and hidden places that they will surely scurry to, like rats fleeing the sinking ship, and were I they, I would insure that the places I go to are places that have no idea of who I am, nor what part I had to play in this travesty, and I would make sure that it will come at a high price to those who attempt the hunt, let alone make the threshold of my fortress.

The only way to deal with this is to deal with it now. The collapse will come, but until we as a people don't just cry out our anguish, but turn our backs to the game and leave the territory (metaphorically speaking, not literally) then we will be continue the lie that is not our future, but our present, and we will continue to be serfs in their kingdoms.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 20:53 | Link to Comment deflator
deflator's picture

TPTB or anyone near the top of the pyramid has to be astonished and scratching their heads as to why those lower on the pyramid are still trading their hard earned labor for what they know to be worthless paper.

 There will never be an official announcement that the Ponzi has failed--many will still try(and succeed) to trade worthless paper for a ridiculously long time well after the crash has occurred.

 Death and the threat of death is the only thing that will stop the trade of worthless paper for hard assets and hard earned labor.

Mon, 06/11/2012 - 01:10 | Link to Comment blindman
blindman's picture

in a battle where one side has an indefensible
position the opponent must focus on that spot.
the greatest weapon of that first adversary is to
distract their opponent from the indefensible position
until such time as it can be reinforced. this
explains the metals and the media.
we all do what we can do to make the world a more
just and verdant place. so watch for your nose being
led around into the darkness.
.
Debt Political Theater Diverts Attention While Americans Wealth is Stolen?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZjTxen7aLM&feature=autoplay&list=UL0c81-...
.
the world has never seen, never enjoyed the potential
transcendent power and benefits of adherence to
non-violence; there is something to struggle to explain
to your children in a coherent and inspiring manner.
i guess it was never a priority?

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 14:59 | Link to Comment Temporalist
Temporalist's picture

Other acronyms:

AQL - acceptable quality level (quite low when discussing debt)

BAD - broken as designed (the whole Euro system)

BCP - bulk copy program (what central banks run when they hit ctrl-p)

BSOD - blue screen of death (system failure)

BTP - batch transfer program (all the funds to the elite)

EFT - electronic funds transfer (see above)

JUG - joint users group (choom wagon posse)

LF - line feed (what kleptocrats keep dishing out)

LPM - lines per minute (the speed of printing)

MAC - media access control (self explanatory)

MHS - message handling system (propaganda distrubition)

PIO - programmed input output (centrally planned economics)

RAD - rapid application development (TARP, LTRO, EFSF)

REPO - remote emergency power off (the kill switch)

SPE - system policy editor (treaties? what treaties?)

TSR - terminate and stay resident (welcome to the Eurozone, now here is your new "leader")

UAE - unrecoverable application error (program failure)

VM - virtual memory (how kleptocrats look back on history)

VMM - virtual memory manager (kleptocrats in charge)

WYSIWYG - what you see is what you get (vote in elitist scum, hope they use lube)

ZAK - zero administraion kit (global leaders sum total)

ZAC - zero administraion client (the kleptocrats need suckers)

 

 

 

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 15:08 | Link to Comment Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

 

RAD - rapid application development (TARP, LTRO, EFSF)

I would have thought that to be new tips for the lube tube...

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 15:11 | Link to Comment Waterfallsparkles
Waterfallsparkles's picture

If it was not for rebates for HFT trading (where they literally pay them to place orders) by the exchanges the HFT Computers would already be dead.

I wonder how long the exchange will pay these Computer Operators when the true volume of trades drops off the cliff.

How could the Exchanges survive by paying for HFT Computers trades if no one else trades in the Market?  We have already witnessed the large trades going into dark pools which robs the Exchanges of revenue because of the HFT Computers.  If Brokerages start to match orders with other Customers avoiding the exchanges we also have a problem.

The Exchanges opened up the Rabbit Hole to let the HFT Computers rob everyone that trades thru Front running and letting them see orders before they are made public and then let them sub penny every trade.  Now it is not even sub penny it is micro penny.  Like a trade for 5.00998.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 15:14 | Link to Comment DutchR
DutchR's picture

School for quants: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/0664cd92-6277-11e1-872e-00144feabdc0.html

The future is but one solar flare away.

 

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 15:14 | Link to Comment rosiescenario
rosiescenario's picture

One of Murphy's laws states that investment models will work well until they have attracted sufficient capital to create the maximum pain when they fail.

 

This law applies to both computer based programs and humanoid ones.

 

LTC is just one spectacular example.

 

If one is a short seller the problem is in trying to determine that point when the maximum amount of capital has been collected before the apocalypse strikes.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 15:21 | Link to Comment Fix It Again Timmy
Fix It Again Timmy's picture

One must keep in mind that the more restrictions, qualifications, laws and limits there are, then the result can be more easily honed.  "You can't always get what you want" only applies when you have no to minimal control.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqBjjBkHnh0&feature=related

 

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 15:26 | Link to Comment Waterfallsparkles
Waterfallsparkles's picture

I have 2 friends that are the Buy and Hold type of investor.  They have held stocks for 25 to 35 years.  One keeps telling me that they are getting killed in the Market and starts to tell me about all of the algorithms controlling the Market.  Nothing new to me.  As I only rent Stocks to supplement my income.

He recently followed my advice and bought an Investment Property.  He did not own it for more than a year and he was selling it.  He did make $10,000. but I think he should have held it forever.  Funny thing is that I hold Real Estate forever.  He holds Stocks forever.  He wants to flip Houses I want to flip Stocks.

Now he is worried about the Stock Market and sorry he sold the Investment Property and is looking to buy another one.  Although, the one he sold was a real income producer and I do not think he can replace it today.  I guess that is the difference with Real Estate and Stocks.  A good property is hard to find and may not be easily replaced.  Whereby Stock say in GE once sold be easily replaced.

Conclusion is that it is better to buy Rental Real estate where it is not so easily controlled by the Market than to own Stocks.  People have to live somewhere you know and Stocks do not fit that bill.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 17:31 | Link to Comment Omen IV
Omen IV's picture

how do you buy stocks or bonds for the long term? unless you are one of the eight guys who control $2 billion + fund that gets called for the heads up by Hank Paulson or whomever is the current designate tipor how do you take the risks? - the wise guys know and you know nothing - how is that an equation for risk and return?

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 15:39 | Link to Comment Waterfallsparkles
Waterfallsparkles's picture

Let us be realistic.  When People start to realize that Trading and Stock prices are being influence by the Central Bank, the Computers, the Bankers, HFT Computers that are programed to reach a price or hold a price and churn, etc., and not individual traders Buying and Selling.  It lowers the confidence in the system.

Who whats to trade or buy a Stock that can be totally controlled by an outside force?  The Market used to be based on value based on the Buyers being willing to Buy and the Sellers willing to Sell or heaven forbid the actual value of a Company. The current Market has nothing to do with demand or value of a Company. 

The Market has only to do with how many People can be separated from their Money thru manipulation and reverse psychology.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 15:42 | Link to Comment css1971
css1971's picture

What I love about programmers and quants is that they forget in their vanity and hubris is that every human being on the planet has a massively parallel processing and pattern recognition system in their heads, which has been honed by several billion years worth of life or death decision making.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 17:42 | Link to Comment GeezerGeek
GeezerGeek's picture

Please elaborate on the vanity and hubris of programmers. Whatever are you talking about, and how does it apply to the rest of humanity? Most of the humans I encounter are 1%-ers, in the sense that they use maybe 1% of that vaunted parallel processing and pattern recognition that you mentioned.

What's the big deal about pattern recognition anyway? How do you think certain insects can find their way back to the nest? Change the pattern around the nest and the insect is lost.

What's the big deal about parallel processing? Ever hear the phrase "can't walk and chew gum at the same time"? Give the average person too much to think about and he'll suffer what has been termed, in geek-speak, a "deadly embrace". That's when two parallel tasks can't get along and results in a deadlock situation, allowing nothing to get accomplished. It's like what happens when you give a remote control to someone and all they can do is channel surf between reality shows.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 18:54 | Link to Comment Umh
Umh's picture

And most humans react very badly in the financial markets. We find patterns in the markets that do not exist and know that a crash is coming this year or is that this decade.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 15:46 | Link to Comment Dollar Bill Hiccup
Dollar Bill Hiccup's picture

On Exactitude in Science

Jorge Luis Borges

. . . In that Empire, the Art of Cartography reached such Perfection that the map of one Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps were no longer satisfactory and the Cartographers Guilds set up a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire itself and coincided point for  point with it. Later Generations, who were not addicted to the study of Cartography as their forebears had been,  understood that this Widespread Map was Useless and not without Impiety they abandoned it to the Inclemencies of the Sun and of the Winters. In the deserts of the West some mangled Ruins of the Map remain, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the land there is no other relic of the Disciplines of Geography.

Suarez Miranda, Viajes de varones prudentes, Libro IV, Cap. XLV, Lérida, 1658.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 15:51 | Link to Comment TrustWho
TrustWho's picture

Are you from/in Argentina?

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 15:59 | Link to Comment Dollar Bill Hiccup
Dollar Bill Hiccup's picture

No, but I can find it on a map!

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 16:22 | Link to Comment TrustWho
TrustWho's picture

I knew you were a smart hiccup.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 16:12 | Link to Comment magpie
magpie's picture

There is POMO, and then there is Pomo.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 15:46 | Link to Comment Waterfallsparkles
Waterfallsparkles's picture

If the Market stops working then were will they put all of their Money?

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 15:49 | Link to Comment TrustWho
TrustWho's picture

The economist make the same mistake with econometric models....GIGO

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 15:50 | Link to Comment Waterfallsparkles
Waterfallsparkles's picture

I loved the Guy on Cnbc last week where the other person said that HFT only held Stocks for a few seconds.  He  replied NO we acutally hold on to some Stocks for 10 Minutes.

Point made.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 15:55 | Link to Comment ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

"Garbage?  Robots?  What is all this talk?  I'm a normal trader in a fair market; just look at my hat!"

http://www.flickr.com/photos/79008263@N05/7074511733/lightbox/

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 16:49 | Link to Comment carbonmutant
carbonmutant's picture

Wassa matta don't you people don't believe in recycling?...lol

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 16:18 | Link to Comment I am Jobe
I am Jobe's picture

GIGO- Love it- Almost like the fucking Politics in the USSA. And people vote for the same crap over and over and over. Must be the inbred fuck in the USSA.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 16:44 | Link to Comment icanhasbailout
icanhasbailout's picture

Government In, Garbage Out

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 16:50 | Link to Comment malek
malek's picture

 The programmers who had installed the trading software on the computers of the traders had never seen such a thing so they made no provision for it.

That falls a little short IMO.

If the programmers (maybe inspired by seasoned investors/traders) would have made provisions for it, either the model equations would not have been solvable anymore (optimistic assumption), or the trading model would not have been profitable anymore, as the cost of keeping reserves (or in newspeak hedging "outliers") would have been higher than the spread.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 18:57 | Link to Comment Umh
Umh's picture

They would have been told to take that out because it'll never happen. If I had to guess a decent programmer would have put it in and then grumbled when he took it out as ordered by management.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 17:03 | Link to Comment john_connor
john_connor's picture

Anything that requires human input to subjective variables is prone to error, no matter if those variables are taken by a computer and used to run a "model", "program", or whatever you want to call it.  There is always a question of "what is the assumption?", and those assumptions are based on historical data, however limited, and/or someone's "proprietary" analysis. 

It works until it doesn't.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 17:23 | Link to Comment blindman
blindman's picture

The THEORY of TIRED LIGHT
why it is wrong and why it is right
by Miles Mathis
http://milesmathis.com/tired.pdf
.
"..Mainstream physicists will balk at giving the photon spin, since they have been taught the photon is a
point particle with no mass. But we have no evidence of this. We have lots of evidence the photon is
very small, but no evidence it has a radius or mass of zero. In fact, we have lots of evidence to the
contrary. All physical evidence points to mass and radius above zero, and all logic points to that as
well. The real reason current physicists believe in a zero mass and radius for the photon has nothing to
do with data, physics or logic; it is that their gauge math requires it. But that is not physics. That is
just mathematical obstinacy. The gauge math was created not by Nature, but by previous physicists (or,
more rigorously, previous mathematicians). As I have said before, you don't fit Nature to math, you fit
math to Nature. Any physicist who puts his math before his physics is a very confused person. He isn't
really a physicist at all. He is in the wrong building and should get his check from the math
department." ...
same goes for economists.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 18:53 | Link to Comment Downtoolong
Downtoolong's picture

Weird things happen to markets if everyone starts believing in the same exact model of how it works.

-You get tons of volume and high vol with the slightest move or event, but, liquidity goes to zero. You only have true liquidity when there are many participants in the market wanting to trade in different directions for different reasons. When everyone is always trying to trade in the same direction for the same reason then true liquidity dries up.

-The whole market becomes like greyhounds chasing a rabbit. Each meaningful event (as defined by model parameters) produces a flurry of trading activity over a very short period of time. You get step function changes in prices with huge short term volume rates.  Winners are defined solely by their ability to trade faster than the competition.

-The number of market participants quickly declines as those without winning high speed computers are by definition, always losers.

-Eventually volume declines too when only a few winners with the fastest computers are left to play with themselves (eeew), and there are no suckers left to take the other side.

In short, when everyone tries to trade according to the exact same model of how the market works, the market paradoxically dies and ceases to exist.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 19:24 | Link to Comment q99x2
q99x2's picture

Despite HFT FB is still seeking fair value. Must be a bad enough stock that it makes even a computer puke.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 20:19 | Link to Comment traderjj57
traderjj57's picture

math·e·mat·ics; The study of the measurement, properties, and relationships of quantities and sets, using numbers and symbols.

High Frequency Mathematics. The creation of an alternative truth and application of The study of the measurement, properties, and relationships of quantities and sets, using numbers and symbols to create commission and rebate income at the expense of investors.

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 21:48 | Link to Comment The Fonz...befo...
The Fonz...before shark jump's picture

The system is BROKEn

Sun, 06/10/2012 - 23:32 | Link to Comment AgentOfNaturalS...
AgentOfNaturalSelection's picture

Don't worry, I just sent a mass email to all my undergrad econ professors. They should have us out of this in no time.

Mon, 06/11/2012 - 01:51 | Link to Comment Grand Supercycle
Grand Supercycle's picture

Rally Warning from last week:

'Daily chart now gives bullish warning and significant
SPX rally & USDX retracement should commence in a week or so'

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-12-24/market-analysis

Mon, 06/11/2012 - 02:54 | Link to Comment Me_Myself_and_I
Me_Myself_and_I's picture

I build models.  In real life.

The problem I see is that executives and management alike usually have no interest in learning how these get built, and delegate that responsibility to some what-not with a PhD after their name. 

These what-nots often are limited with respect to their understanding of human behavior, but are supremely confident in their abilities.  Sometimes these abilities are strong in one or two particular areas, but come nowhere close to accounting for real-world complexity.   

Look any specific method has blind spots.  Cheerleading doesn't matter.  Your skill set doesn't matter.  The blind spots must be accounted for and dealt with before wagering the house on a particular bet.

The other problem is that sometimes executives and management pressure the modelers to build a solution that fits their pre-conceived notions of growth.  I saw this pressure directly applied in two big national banks where I worked, with disastrous results.  These 'uppers' had no interest in hearing projections that indicated their strategy (predicated on housing rising) was at all flawed.  In one bank I was directly banned from key meetings, because my models did not confirm their expectations, so my work (on a housing collapse) written off as substandard.

I don't care.  I landed in successfully better opportunities.  But it still irks me that so much GIGO exists.

The financial industry is the number one market for lipstick.  Ruby red. 

Mon, 06/11/2012 - 08:40 | Link to Comment ivo
ivo's picture

The purpose of a model is to simplify a real world phenomena such that it can be dealt with mathematically. This means that a model however accurate it is is just a simplification. Bashing models that they are not the real thing is like complaining about that one cannot fit in and drive around in a matchbox Ferrari toy. If it looks like a car it should work like a car, doesn't it?!

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