Blog Archives

Stock Market Computer Glitches

Computer Glitches

Computer Glitches

Many people depend on the stability of the stock market from day to day. It is understood of course that there are times when it can have greater fluctuations than others. And there are times when the market becomes volatile which can be advantageous to some and a detriment to others depending on the types of trades occurring at the time. But for regular investors such as Effi Enterprises a glitch in the system can be disastrous. Efraim Landa helps business owners organize and maintain investments, offer IPOs, learn about brokers and dealers, and use many other aspects of financial resources to increase the value of their business or company. A glitch can mean real trouble for a business which is trying to achieve valuation. But we must remember that the market is primarily computer based and occasionally there are those times when a glitch will occur. Such was the case on May 6, 2010 when the Flash Crash occurred.

On this date the crisis occurred in a very short time frame of about 5 minutes just before 3 p.m. In this short amount of time the Dow Jones Industrial Average suddenly dropped almost 600 points. It was nick named the “flash crash.” Most blame it on a computer glitch of some sort while others tried to look at several trades which occurred shortly before the crash happened.

This year in May Facebook anticipated very good first day trades but on May 18 their jump into the market with their IPO ended up in chaos. A NASDAQ computer glitch delayed the opening by about 30 minutes which meant that investors were unable to purchase shares in the morning and then sell them later that day. They couldn’t even tell if their orders had gone through. NASDAQ is looking to pay nearly $62 million to different firms who suffered financial harm due to the glitch.

March of this year there was a glitch of some sort which affected at least one market which was trying to offer an IPO. Kansas City based BATS Global Markets, Inc. ended up canceling the IPO because a series of glitches never allowed the stock to open for trade. Later the CEO, Joe Ratterman, resigned as the chairman and offered a public apology.

Even though the specific details of what happened are sketchy, most of them seem to come from issues with the algorithms which keep high frequency trading afloat. These types of trades are conducted at a rate of millions in just nanoseconds. The large volume of stock trading is all computerized this means that the chance of malfunction is relatively high with the biggest problem being that a human cannot stop them before it’s too late and the damage is usually already done.

For investors such as Efraim Landa these glitches can be very detrimental. They rely on the constant working of the market and place automatic orders expecting that their brokers will sell the stocks when they hit a particular price. Kevin Callahan, the spokesman for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) made a statement in which he said that they “are closely monitoring the situation.” He also stated that they were in constant contact with the New York Stock Exchange and various other market participants. Many leading businessmen are asking for better oversight of some of the practices such as high frequency trading which seems to be the culprit leading to these types of glitches.

The most interesting thing about this recent glitch is that it occurred on the same day that the SEC published a rule which was set up to prevent glitches such as the “flash crash” of 2010. The goal of the rule was to establish one consolidated record of all the day’s trades. Many are calling for tighter regulations and closer monitoring to help prevent these glitches from occurring.

What is High Frequency Trading?

High Frequency Trading

High Frequency Trading

There are many different types of trading platforms used to process trades across many financial markets. High Frequency Trading is a specific platform that is capable of performing many trade orders, or transactions, in a very short amount of time. Computers which are used on this trading platform use complex algorithms which can analyze numerous markets and carry out orders based on the changing market conditions. Usually the traders who can trade the fastest will be the most profitable. However, there has been much debate about whether high frequency trading improves the market quality; or if it is a detriment to long term investors. Whether or not it is a beneficial sector of the market is important to those who are involved in providing financial opportunities for businesses like Efraim Landa. His company, Effi Enterprises offers counsel to businesses concerning financial matters. One of their primary concerns is helping entrepreneurs learn how to create value for their growing business and the market plays a major role in this effort.

High Frequency Trading, or HFT, is a specialized trading platform which uses computer technology to make a large number of transactions in a very short amount of time. HFT uses computerized complex algorithms which analyze many markets at the same time and executes orders based on the conditions of the market. Those traders who can execute orders at the fastest speeds usually come out more profitable than other traders who have execution speeds which are slower. Recent estimates declared that close to 50 percent of all exchange volume are from high frequency trading transactions.

HFT costs are lower, deeper and more liquid than other options. The price differences across other related markets are reduced and the prices reflect the values of stocks and commodities more accurately. The trouble is that the term “high frequency trading” has become more of a catch all phrase for many of the automated trading strategies. The term tends to lump all strategies which use computers to create, tender, monitor or revise purchases and sells of orders throughout a trading day. These types of strategies are programmed to make trading decisions based on how the decision rules developed by humans along with public information. HFT is a popular form of trading with varying types of professional traders. This includes investment banks, proprietary trading firms and investment funds. This rapid growth is due to the innovations that have occurred in trading technology along with the reforms that trading regulations have undergone which have made the markets more transparent, competitive and open.

There is a large school of thought that believes that HFT improves the overall quality of the markets. As trading has emerged to become more automated it has also become more competitive. One way that HFT improves the market is by making the market more efficient for traders who are bridging the gap between natural traders who are not all working the market all at one time. The high speed of entries helps decrease the risks of the market and becomes a beneficial tool for risk management which allows traders to revise their orders quickly by responding to changing market conditions in a real time environment. This brings more liquidity to the market since traders can offer more narrow spreads, as well as larger sized quotes which ultimately reduce costs for end users. High frequency trading is a broader type of risk management tool just like the ones marketers have used for years; but just in a faster mode due to the availability of the most accurate, up to date information available.

HFT techniques have been mostly used by professional traders such as Efraim Landa. However, even average investors can benefit from this type of trading. A long term investor who traditionally buys a mutual fund and holds it can use HFT to his benefit by using them to reduce transaction costs which are typical of the mutual fund. This allows the investor to be out less money up front and in turn end up with a greater investment return. Many mutual fund companies advise regulators that HFT can result in significant savings for mutual fund investors.