Tag Archives | high frequency trading

High-frequency traders pay $millions to be legal highwaymen

In olden days, highwaymen would hang around stagecoach inns, waiting to see when wealthy people were travelling.  Then they would hide out along their likely route, getting wet and cold, in order to take their cash. Today the arrival of electronic trading has changed all this.  High-Frequency Traders (HFT) now have computer programmes to act as their lookouts, […]

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Benzene highlights rising risks in financial markets

The blog is busy preparing its presentations for its World Aromatics and Derivatives Conference later this month, co-organised as always with ICIS.  As well as looking at the impact of the transition to the New Normal, it will be investigating the current state of benzene markets.  These are always an excellent leading indicator for the global […]

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High-frequency trading continues to take markets higher

The blog was very pleased to see the Nobel Prize awarded jointly to Robert Shiller, whose words of wisdom on housing and stock markets it has cited many times. Shiller’s key insight, in his book Irrational Expectations and since, has been to confirm Ben Graham’s famous saying: “In the short term, the market is a […]

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“Its going to be scary”

As the Financial Times wrote on Saturday: “Earlier this year, it all seemed so straightforward. Central banks printed money and proffered soothing words, and markets went up. Now, it’s getting more complicated.” In fact, nervous readers might want to stay away from financial markets for a while. Just 2 weeks ago, crude oil prices suddenly […]

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High frequency trading causes another mini-crash

Do any blog readers routinely trade on the basis of Twitter comments? Or more specifically, do any trade within milliseconds of receiving a tweet? The answer of course is “no”, as readers have no ability to trade in milliseconds. But last week the computers did just that. As the Financial Times chart shows, the US […]

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Computers push oil prices higher, again

Trading volumes in financial markets are very low these days. Many ordinary investors are on holiday, and others are focused on the Olympics. So it is easy for the high-frequency computers to create major volatility – and large profits for their owners. Thus they managed to create a 1.5% fall in the S&P 500 on […]

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If you build it, they may not come

The story of the 1989 US movie Field of Dreams summed up the happy days of the economic supercycle that was then getting underway. Starring A-list players such as Kevin Costner and Burt Lancaster, its theme that “if you build it, they will come” came to define the era. In the world of manufacturing, companies […]

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Oil markets break out of their ‘triangle’

There has never been any fundamental basis for the rise in oil prices over the past 3 years: • At no time has there been any actual shortage of product • In fact, inventories have always been at comfortable levels They rose only for two reasons: • The investment banks found they could make a […]

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High-frequency trading distorts oil markets

A blog reader has kindly forwarded an important UNCTAD paper (UN Conference on Trade and Development), analysing the growth and impact of high-frequency trading (HFT) on oil and financial markets. It provides important “new evidence regarding the financialisation of commodity markets”. These are now driven by computers which trade in micro-seconds, creating correlation trading which […]

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The oil market’s ‘triangle’ pattern continues

The other side of the short-term volatility in oil markets, as discussed yesterday, is that price movements are still trapped in their long-term triangle pattern. As the chart shows, Tuesday’s $3/bbl move was not part of a break-out to new high ground. In fact, Brent’s prices remain within the same $99/bbl – $127/bbl range they […]

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