PLUNGE! 1987 Style Sudden Drop in US Stocks Driven by Program Trading and a Ponzi Market Structure

Friday, May 7, 2010
By Paul Martin

JessesCrossroadCafe.com

“Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch’entrate.”
Dante Alighieri, The Inferno, Canto III, 9

US equities were gripped by panic selling as the Dow plunged almost 1,000 points driven by a cascade of 100 share high frequency program trading, estimated to have been about 80% of volume. Gold rocketed higher to $1,210.

The stock exchange circuit breakers do not effectively apply after 2:30 PM NY time unless the market declines over 20% and they close the exchange for the day.

bit of a detail perhaps, but it serves to enhance the convenient artificiality of today’s market break.

This is highly reminiscent of the 1987 crash driven by a flawed market structure based on automated trading and bad theories.

The entire stock market rally which we have seen this year off the February lows resembles a low volume Ponzi scheme, and formed a huge air pocket under prices.

This US equity rally was driven by technically oriented buying from the Banks and the hedge funds. There was and still is a lack of legitimate institutional buying at these price levels. This was machine driven speculation enabled by the lack of reform in a system riddled with corruption, from the bottom to the top.

This is yet another indication that the US regulatory and market oversight organizations, especially the SEC and CFTC, continue to be disconnected from and remarkably ineffective in their responsibilities in guarding the public against gross market abuse, price manipulation, and insiders playing games with cheap money supplied by the NY Fed.

And as you might expect, the anchors on financial television are trying to excuse and blame the sell off on a ‘fat finger’ order that caused Procter and Gamble to drop 20 points in 45 seconds. Or a typist inputting an order to sell 16 million e-mini SP futures, and typing “B” instead of “M.” Oops. Crashed the free world.

“Ordinarily, the financial risk in a market, and hence the risk to the economy at large, is limited because the assets traded are finite. There are only so many houses, mortgages, shares of stock, bushels of corn, [bars of silver], or barrels of oil in which to invest.

But a synthetic instrument has no real assets. It is simply a bet on the performance of the assets it references. That means the number of synthetic instruments is limitless, and so is the risk they present to the economy…

Increasingly, synthetics became bets made by people who had no interest in the referenced assets. Synthetics became the chips in a giant casino, one that created no economic growth even when it thrived, and then helped throttle the economy when the casino collapsed.”

US Congressman Carl Levin

Even if any of this was true, it was just the spark that caused the market to plummet because of its highly unstable and artificial technical underpinnings. There is no longer any legitimate price discovery. The US financial system is a casino, dominated by a few big Banks and hedge funds, the gangs of New York.

They’ll never learn. Or is it ‘we?’ They may not really care.

The rest…HERE

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