Could the Markets Stage a 1987-Style Crash?

Monday, April 7, 2014
By Paul Martin

By Graham Summers
GoldSeek.com
Monday, 7 April 2014

The big story developing in the US markets regards the sudden crackdown by regulators, most notably the SEC and Justice Department, on High Frequency Trading or HFT.

For well over five years now, certain trading firms have been using high-speed computers to front-run orders from other investors.

In simple terms, the market exchanges, like the NYSE, would let these firms (for a price of course) see when someone put in a market order to buy or sell shares on the market.

The trading firm would then use super fast computer programs to buy or sell shares in front of that order, before turning around and selling the shares to the investor at a slightly higher price. The trading program may only make a $0.01 profit by doing this, but because they were doing it millions of times a day, they were making billions of Dollars per year.

At one point, this practice accounted for as much as 70% of all market volume. Put another way, 70% of all shares being traded on the market were not from investors actually placing buy and sell orders, but from computers front-running investors and each other.

These firms argued that they were providing liquidity to the markets (an outright lie). The reality is that they spent millions of dollars lobbying in Washington DC to make sure that the regulators didn’t crack down on them.

The Rest…HERE

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