"I Mean, Every Trade Was A Tick Up" - Steve Wynn Shows How Stocks Are Manipulated

At the end of Wynn's Q1 conference call, CEO Steve Wynn went on an epic tirade focusing initially on short sellers then shifting into a fascinating, and detailed, explanation of how HFTs manipulate his stock. What he explained happens to his stock when HFTs attempt to deceive traders, is what we have said ever since 2009.

Here is the key excerpt from his conference call transcript.

Well, we never know what the Street is going to do with the funky trading. And we all feel that, both as individuals and as a company, that we should be prepared to take advantage of real opportunity when it occurs. And my board feels that way, and so do I. So we just wanted to make sure that we are property armed in case there was something strange that happened on Wall Street and the stock market dropped or our stock went to a level that we thought was grossly over-sold, we would jump on it.

 

As long as the short players fool around for $1 or $2, that's fine. But when shorts - the exchanges really don't enforce the rules of naked shorts. So, I mean, it's unconscionable manipulation of the stock that occurs. They open up every morning, and the high-frequency traders in the shorts have a ball selling shares, and then value buyers step in in the afternoon and they cover the shorts. I mean, it's regular casino activity.

 

The activity on the stock markets is, in my view, poorly regulated and irresponsibly policed, especially with regard to short sales. And when it gets out of hand - we see a lot of shorts because of China, because we're such a clear China play. 

...

 

And although I can't do anything about it myself, I take advantage of it when it gets online and buy shares. I mean it's fine when they drive the stock down for reasons that are irrelevant and completely disconnected from anything to do with our business operations. So the stock markets got more volatile, more stupid as a gambling game than ever before. And I look at it that way, to be honest with you. I have very little respect for the integrity of the trading on the exchange in most stocks. And I have particular disdain for the fact that the SEC has failed to deal with high-frequency traders who are doing nothing more than taking advantage of inside information, a buy or a sell order, because of technology advantages.

 

If you read Flash Boys, it's all spelled out for you. And if I execute an order, I'll use IEX, I'll use Brad Katsuyama if I was buying something, so I couldn't be fronted by the high-frequency traders. But there's an awful lot of that going on.

 

The other day I was watching the stock open up, and it went up on share volumes of a few thousand shares. I mean, every trade was a tick up. That's not the way it should operate in an honestly or intelligently run exchange

 

But that's the thing, all those guys sold their dark pools and their order flow and the positioning on the floors of the servers to the HFTs. And it's made a couple of guys that I'm friendly with very rich because they are high-frequency traders. But I don't respect the activity, and I'm severely critical of it. And don't mind saying so, either.

Thanks Steve for confirming the tinfoil hattery written on this site, exposing precisely this ever since 2009.

Still, we are confused: if it is so clear that even unsophisticated market participants now realize how the rigging takes place, why is it that the only person who should be severely critical of HFT rigging, SEC Chairman Mary-Jo White, refuses to say anything? By the way, that is a rhetorical question.