The head of one of the biggest high-frequency trading companies has warned that there are several faultlines in the structure of increasingly electronic, automated financial markets that could lead to a “catastrophe” in the long run. "We’re creeping in the right direction, but unless we proactively address these issues, sometime in the next several decades we are going to experience a catastrophe due to runaway computerised trading,” Tower Research's Mark Gorton said.
China Suspends Circuit-Breaker Rule - "This Is Insane; We Were Forced To Liquidate All Our Holdings This Morning"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/07/2016 09:38 -0500
Update: *CHINA SUSPENDS STOCK CIRCUIT BREAKER RULE - In Q&A, CSRC insists circuit breakers didn't cause the China meltdown but admits they may have aggravated sell-off.
"It couldn't be worse," exclaims one manager who started his fund mid-year in 2015, blaming China's equity market carnage on its newly-created circuit-breakers (as opposed to the fact that the Chinese market trades at 64x P/E and there are sellers everywhere). "Panic will eventually turn into a buying opportunity," hopes one strategist while another proclaims "poorly-designed" circuit breakers need to be adjusted to 10% (seriously). Blame is everywhere, but it is Chen Gang who summed up the panic best, "this is insane... we were forced to liquidate all our holdings this morning."
Derivatives like credit default swaps turned a mere bubble in the US housing market into a global financial catastrophe...
A quick summary of the latest HFT market-rigging scam: mysteriously, and "erroneously", a change in Latour Trading's code was made, which the firm lacked "direct and exclusive control" over, and which was non-compliant with Reg NMS requirements, yet which mysteriously ended up generating "gross trading profits and rebates by stock exchanges" amounting to $2.8 million. Where have we seen this? Oh yes...
Today will almost certainly be the busiest trading day of the year, as the Russell indexes go through their annual rebalancing/reconstitution. But, as ConvergEx's Nick Colas notes, Friday’s close will be the end of a trade that began almost 2 months ago, as traders began handicapping which equities would be included for the first time or swapped between various Russell indices. Since the beginning of May, for example, the stocks that will be added to the Russell 2000 are up 11%, and those being deleted from the same index are down 2% over the same time period. In short, for one day – and this is the day - every U.S. equity market participant, no matter what their investment mandate, needs to think like a trader. Throw in a little Greek drama going into the weekend, and it could be quite a day...
The current asset bubble depends on a number of perceptions that could easily be put to the test by unexpected developments. There is a widespread consensus on a number of issues. This includes the belief that the economy will strengthen, that the emergence of “price inflation” is practically impossible, that “QE” will always guarantee rising asset prices, and that central banks have everything under control. Now we learn that in addition to this, a surprisingly large number of traders has no experience beyond the ZIRP & QE era of recent years. Meanwhile, the market’s underpinnings in terms of liquidity exhibit numerous weaknesses.
With over $4 trillion invested in Russell index-linked products, this year’s rebalance combined with the “Will they/won’t they” Fed rate increase debate could make for an eventful start to summer.
Suddenly the narrative that “everything is awesome” is showing to not be as “awesome” as it was first proclaimed. Merely a few months have passed since the ending of QE and praises of awesomeness everywhere are morphing into questions more akin to “Oh no: not again!” And with that we are now watching those who pushed, pulled, and levitated that narrative scramble desperately to push another narrative back onto the stage that worked so many times before: “Every sell off over the last 6 years has shown to be a profitable buying opportunity.” i.e., Just buy the dip (JBTFD). Yet it would seem these dips; are far different.
In the aftermath of Michael Lewis' book "Flash Boys" there has been a renewed surge in interest in High Frequency Trading. Alas, much of it is conflicted, biased, overly technical or simply wrong. And since we can't assume that all those interested have been followed our 5 year of coverage of a topic that finally has earned its day in the public spotlight, below is a simple summary for everyone.
The banker suicide wave that started in late January has now become an epidemic, and it seems to be focusing on one bank: JP Morgan. After the first suicide that took place in JPM's London headquarters, ending the life of 39 year old Gabriel Magee, a vice president in the investment bank’s technology department, next it was 37 year old Ryan Crane, an executive director in the firm's program trading division, who died under still unknown circumstances. Moments ago a third JPMorgan banker committed suicide, this time at the JPMorgan Charter House Asia headquarters in central Hong Kong, where a 33 year old man who was said to have been an FX trader for JPM, just jumped to his death.
Ordinarily we would ignore the news of another banker's death - after all these sad events happen all the time - if it wasn't for several contextual aspects of this most recent passage. First, the death in question, as reported by the Stamford Daily Voice is that of Ryan Henry Crane, a Harvard graduate, who is survived by his wife, son and parents at the very young age of 37. Second, Ryan Henry Crane was formerly employed by JPMorgan - a bank which was featured prominently in the news as recently as two weeks ago when another of its London-based employees committed suicide by jumping from the top floor of its Canary Wharf building. Third: Crane was an Executive Director in JPM's Global Program Trading desk, founded in 1999 by an ex-DE Shaw'er, a function of the firm which is instrumental to preserving JPM's impeccable and (so far in 2013) flawless trading record of zero trading losses.
This morning we showed several charts that "Market Bulls Should Consider", as the mainstream media, analysts and economists continue to become more ebullient as we enter the new year. This weekend's "Things To Ponder" follows along with this contrarian thought process particularly as it appears that virtually all "bears" have now been forced into hibernation.
The third stage of bull markets, the mania phase, can last longer and go farther that logic would dictate. However, the data suggests that the risk of a more meaningful reversion is rising. It is unknown, unexpected and unanticipated events that strike the crucial blow that begins the market rout. Unfortunately, due to the increased impact of high frequency and program trading, reversions are likely to occur faster than most can adequately respond to. This is the danger that exists today. Are we in the third phase of a bull market? Most who read this article will say "no." However, those were the utterances made at the peak of every previous bull market cycle.
The risk of a more meaningful reversion is rising. It is unknown, unexpected and unanticipated events that strike the crucial blow that begins the market rout. Unfortunately, due to the increased impact of high frequency and program trading, reversions are likely to occur faster than most can adequately respond to. This is the danger that exists today. Are we in the third phase of a bull market? Most who read this article will immediately say "no." However, those were the utterances made at the peak of every previous bull market cycle. The reality is that, as investors, we should consider the possibility, evaluate the risk and manage accordingly. With the current bull market now stretching into its fifth year; it seems appropriate to review the three very distinct phases of historical bull market cycles. While the current bull market cycle may not be set to end tomorrow; it seems sensible to take a pause to question mainstream beliefs.