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Hackers Find New Way To Cheat On Wall Street 271

Posted by timothy
from the just-downstream dept.
GMGruman writes "The high-speed trading exchanges that conduct the business of buying and selling stocks and mutual funds are so fast that hackers can introduce delays of a few microseconds completely unnoticed by today's network monitoring technology — and manipulate prices in the process to reap millions of dollars to the detriment of everyone else, InfoWorld's Bill Snyder reports. This kind of activity creates new reason to distrust Wall Street and shows how the computer networks we all rely on for conducting business and moving information are ripe for undetectable hacking."
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Hackers Find New Way To Cheat On Wall Street

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  • by omnichad (1198475) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @05:10PM (#34783618) Homepage

    Trades only take effect every 5 seconds. Wouldn't that stop this sort of abuse?

    • by kevinmenzel (1403457) <kevinmenzel@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday January 06, 2011 @05:11PM (#34783654)
      AGH! You'll ruin the foundation of capitalism! Down with your regulations, you dirty commie!
      • by c0lo (1497653)

        AGH! You'll ruin the foundation of capitalism! Down with your regulations, you dirty commie!

        What??? What do I hear, "net neutrality regulations" would became suddenly capitalistic?

      • Regulations? Yeah, that would have helped... (oh boy...)
    • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @05:50PM (#34784114)

      Why not every 30? That should be enough time for a HUMAN to decide if they want to buy or sell something. It seems that this lightning fast trading works great and they're happy if they're making money. If something cascades into failure (like it did earlier last year, or was it '09?) then they just say 'oops, do over'. Imagine you were cashing out your 401k during the 'accidental' crash last year. One second stuff is at 1000, the next it's at 300. In the time it took for electrons to travel from your broker to the market.

      The worth of a company what a stock is supposed to buy you into, doesn't change even from minute to minute.

      I mean, they wouldn't make as much, but it'd be fair to the common person. (So it'll never happen).
      -
      OR, the other suggestion that I heard suggested would be to tax trades inversely proportional to how long they're held.
      1 minute: 90%
      1 hour: 80% .. .. .. ..
      20 years: 5%
      40 years: 1% (people that actually it as investment).

      • Why not make it every hour or even every day - that gives people time to think before each trade and means that you get better luck from algorithms that predict the long-term viability of a company, which biases investment towards companies that have a long-term future. Taxing based on the amount of time the stock is held for sounds great. I'd love to see very high tax rates for people who don't actually create anything.
      • by module0000 (882745) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @08:24PM (#34786056)

        Imagine you were cashing out your 401k during the 'accidental' crash last year. One second stuff is at 1000, the next it's at 300.

        I could be mis-reading your comment...but if you are worried about Joe Average selling off his shares in stock FOO while they are at 1000 a share, and the trade executing moments later when it drops to 300 a share..that's impossible unless Joe Average is very foolish.

        When you execute any trade involving significant cash, you use limit orders to protect yourself against exactly that. If stock FOO is $5.50 a share and I want to sell 1000 shares, I place a limit order to sell at $5.50. This means if there is a bid for 7 shares at $5.55, $5.53 or anything $5.50 or greater I will sell at *that* price. But no shares will be sold below $5.50, that portion of my order will remain 'unfulfilled'.

        If I mis-read what you meant in your comment...my apologies ahead of time. Otherwise I hope that sheds some light on how trading happens between the orders being placed and the securities changing hands.

      • by hsk17 (1156449) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @09:05PM (#34786394)
        I've been an avid follower of /. for some time now. I've gained a lot of insight from reader responses, which are generally well thought-out, mature, and reasonable. On the topic of market microstructure, however, I feel /. falls woefully short. I cringe when I read comments that sound like something from Zero Hedge.

        I work in HFT. I make markets. Obviously, there is an incentive for me to talk about all the good things HFT brings to the world. However, I also believe that we serve a function in the market. Perhaps not vital, but still a service nonetheless.

        What do market makers add to the market? They're willing to stand on the other side of your trade. They serve a vital function to the market and we can trace them back to the specialist days on the floor. Let's all agree to start from there.

        What do HFTs add to the market? Now this is where you have a large divide in opinion, and rightly so. Some HFT firms will engage in predatory behavior that is unfortunate, including quote stuffing and price manipulation. I am not writing to absolve all the bad things that many HFT firms do. However, in my view, ideally, HFT market makers add these factors: immediacy and continuity.

        As an investor, you can go up to a trading terminal at any time in the day and someone (most likely an HFT firm) will be there to take the other side. That is immediacy. You also have access to price discovery that is happening every fraction of a second. That is continuity. These are ideal situations, and not every HFT adds these values. Firms that only remove liquidity are often not providing immediacy. Firms that manipulate prices are usually not providing continuity.

        If you think, "HFT's will run at the sign of chaos!" I agree with you. The better, smarter, and faster firms will continue to stay in the market, but only up to a certain point. Why should anyone stand in the way when a big institution sells 75,000 ES contracts? We trade and provide liquidity so long as it's profitable. If you have a problem with that, you have a problem with capitalism. How do you possibly incentivize participants to absorb tail-end risk?

        If you think, "But investors don't care about 30 microseconds!" I agree with you. The short reaction times are there so that we can manage risk. It indirectly adds value to the investor because it allows us to manage risk better, which allows us to provide really tight markets. Think about it. We're standing there for anyone in the world to trade against all the time. Adverse selection is the name of the game. Back in the specialist days, spreads were sometimes in dollars. Now they are in pennies, and in many liquid stocks, exactly a penny. I assure you -- if we ever move to a system that taxes each trade or throttles latencies, you will see spreads widen out immensely because it's harder to manage risk. If you impose a limit on the minimum life of a quote, you will see spreads widen because there's risk in standing in the middle of the highway for too long.

        If you think, "But company values don't change every 30 microseconds!" I agree with you again. It's the possibility that they could change that necessitates high reaction speeds. Company valuations are stable -- on average. But once in a while, some information is leaked that damages the company's reputation or some big institution decides to buy a ton, and you're left with a huge position that's going against you. Should we stand there and absorb that flow even when it's not profitable?

        The last point is probably the biggest factor in a gating system where trades only take effect every N seconds. You can only update your position every N seconds, so as a market maker, you're essentially putting out a lot more risk. Some firms will be smart about risk management and be able to provide tighter spreads and make money for themselves. Some firms will not and they will go out of business.
        • by Marcika (1003625)

          The gating system also will not eliminate the arms race.

          A well-designed gating system would eliminate the arms race -- simply having a _blind_ auction every second (or every 5 seconds) without time priority, but with price-size priority instead would eliminate it. Working in a large trading outfit, I don't know anybody, whether sell-side or buy side, who takes conscious split second decisions on value. So any sub-second activity is either noise or computerized arbitrage - none of which will be missed if it only happens every second.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by JayWilmont (1035066)

          First of all, thank you for taking the time to explain your position.

          What does it mean to "make markets"? Stock markets have been around for a hundred years without high frequency trading, and they worked just fine.

          Why do we need middlemen to quickly buy and sell stocks? They only are willing to do so if they can make money. So if I put out a sell order and want to sell my stocks for at least $5, and there is a HFT firm in the market that buys my stock for $5 one hundredth of a second later, then a few seco

        • by radtea (464814)

          However, in my view, ideally, HFT market makers add these factors: immediacy and continuity.

          This suggests that without HFTs the market would not have immediacy and continuity, which is nonsense. Market makers were providing sufficient immediacy and continuity before HFT was common, and would continue to do so if HFT were engineered out of the system.

          You could argue that spreads are lower because of HFT, but you really haven't made that case, which is tricky. Spreads have come down in the last decade, but I'd expect in a market dominated by HFT for them to be far smaller than they are. This actu

    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Thursday January 06, 2011 @05:52PM (#34784136)

      Setting a fixed time moves the goal to whomever can shave their systems closest to that fixed time.

      Set a fixed time ... plus a random fragment of a second. That way no one knows exactly WHEN the trade will go through. But it's still close enough for humans choosing to trade.

      The key here is to reduce the ability of software to "cheat" but still allow humans to trade.

      • by omnichad (1198475)

        That does sound even better, though shaving close to that fixed time still leads to less abuse. During that whole 5 seconds, you have no feedback on what the rest of the market is going to do. Plus, you've opened up almost-high-frequency trading to the entire world, rather than just the local datacenter.

      • by kasperd (592156)

        Setting a fixed time moves the goal to whomever can shave their systems closest to that fixed time.

        There would only be to reasons for going that way. One reason would be to be able to complete some heavier calculations before the deadline. But if that was the reason then more processing power and faster algorithms is a much more reliable way to achieve the same than playing the latency games.

        The other (more likely) reason for wanting to get close to the deadline is to take benefit of additional informatio

      • so in effect say 30 minutes and (5d20)/6 seconds is when a given trade will "count"

      • That's not necessary -- you can just remove the margin to be faster altogether. Just collect all the bids placed before the fixed point, without telling anyone what the other bids are. (i.e., everyone sends in their supply/demand curve for a given security) Then, the computer could look at just those bids (any further bids would apply to the *next* fixed time), resolve the trades by an algorithm, and spit out the results when it's done.

        In that case, everyone who got their bet in before the fixed time is

      • by sjames (1099)

        If the time is truly quantized such that nobody can see any of the orders until they settle at the end of the quantum and the orders that happened within are randomly matched (such that they all truly happened at the same virtual time) the advantage goes away.

    • 5 HOURS
    • by jonbryce (703250)

      No, it would make it much worse, as 5 seconds worth of arbitrage data is much more valuable than a few microseconds.

    • ... moving from continuous trading to iterated auctions merely replaces one problem by another: While now you want to act first, in the auction, you want to act last. In any case, he who gets to know the bids of the others sooner and can place his own bids faster will have an advantage. The only solution would be to keep the bids secret - but who do you want to entrust with this job? And how would you keep the bids secret before they enter the system? After all, your bank or online broker has to check your

      • by sjames (1099)

        Closed bids. Nobody sees the bids for the interval until it's over and everything settles. One way is a standardized data structure. To place the bid, you submit a sha256 hash of the structured data to prove you made it. Then the quantum ends and you send in the matching structured data.

  • I doubt it (Score:5, Informative)

    by _merlin (160982) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @05:10PM (#34783630) Homepage Journal

    I work in this business, and trust me - we count nanoseconds. We would notice if "hackers" were introducing delays.

    • Re:I doubt it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 06, 2011 @05:13PM (#34783674)

      I work in this business as well, this article is pure nonsense. I honestly don't know what the fuck this guy is talking about. Artificial delays would be picked up on immediately, no matter how brief. And it's not like this shit is trading over the internet, all endpoints are known, there is no anonymity, if someone tried this shit they'd be in jail by the end of the day.

      • by euyis (1521257)
        It's InfoWorld. What else could you expect from a website that inserts shitty inline advertisements in the articles and splits a short story that fits well in one page into three pages?
      • by chimpo13 (471212)

        You never noticed when I changed the percentage of cents from everyone's salary to go into my secret account. The trick to avoid passwords is typing in "override all security". Works every time. My old mentor Gus Gorman filled me in. He's dead now, so I'm not ratting him out.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Just to be clear here, we are talking about nanoseconds; one of which is how long it takes light to travel 30cm. So, let us posit the existence of equipment that can cope with some number of trades over a span of nanoseconds in a single day (86 trillion). This is simply a smooth line to the average person, but we have money on our side. Every variable is controlled, and all equipment has a quality that would make the SI kilogram standard look like a dirty rock I dug up yesterday. In fact, screw network link

    • Re:I doubt it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by countSudoku() (1047544) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @05:21PM (#34783762) Homepage

      While not directly for Wall Street, I've been at a couple of related industries (super five 9 HA hardware maker and a free stock website) and I'll wholeheartedly agree; the end results will get noticed faster than you can login to Ameritrade. And what is up with the completely false term "undetectable hacking?" That's got to be the stupidest term I've heard this century. There is no such thing as undetectable hacking. Shame on the coiner's lack of knowledge in computer security and forensics. FAIL.

    • Wasn't the flash crash caused by incorrect time stamps, though? If quotes are not being stamped correctly, how would you detect the delays? (no, I did not RTFA)
    • by c0lo (1497653)

      I work in this business, and trust me - we count nanoseconds. We would notice if "hackers" were introducing delays.

      And what would you do when you detect such delays? Call the police in femptoseconds?

    • by Sparohok (318277)

      trust me - we count nanoseconds

      Incidentally, light travels a bit more than one foot in a nanosecond. I trust you that you think you're counting nanoseconds.

      Martin

  • OK (Score:5, Funny)

    by afidel (530433) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @05:11PM (#34783632)
    So they are going to steal from the HFT's that are already performing a salami attack on the broader market, I'm not sure I see a problem here....
  • Hacking? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timeOday (582209) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @05:12PM (#34783660)
    How is this really any different from bread-and-butter high-frequency trading? Firms spend millions to put their servers physically closer to the trading computers to edge out everybody else by a few milliseconds. Boo hoo, now some "hacker" almost put them back on a level playing field with almost everybody else. It's all financially meaningless, totally legal theft.
  • Only millions? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @05:13PM (#34783668) Homepage

    That's chump change on Wall St. Compared to the kind of stuff Goldman Sachs pulls on a regular basis, I'm not too worried about high-frequency traders getting scammed. What's very clear is that none of it has much of anything to do with actual sound investing.

    • by tverbeek (457094)

      All the more reason to regulate this whole approach to "investing" out of the picture altogether.

      • by dkleinsc (563838)

        Good luck with that.

        I mean, the kind of stuff Elizabeth Warren's proposed for regulating credit cards has approval of something like 95% of the public in polls. That doesn't mean she can actually make it happen.

    • If they're allowed "advantages" or whatever, the profits they make have to come from somewhere. I'd rather a system to prevents such and allows more of the profits to go to the smaller investor.

  • Distrust (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This kind of activity creates new reason to distrust Wall Street

    Aw, c'mon! What's wrong with all the old reasons?!?

  • Good grief... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tool462 (677306) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @05:19PM (#34783738)

    That's not a news article, it's an advertisement.

    High-frequency trading networks, which complete stock market transactions in microseconds, are vulnerable to manipulation by hackers who can inject tiny amounts of latency into them. By doing so, they can subtly change the course of trading and pocket profits of millions of dollars in just a few seconds, says Rony Kay, a former IBM research fellow and founder of a cPacket Networks, a Silicon Valley firm that develops chips and technologies for network monitoring and traffic analysis.

    (emphasis mine)

    A man who claims companies are losing millions due to network latency sells tools to monitor network latency? A reliable source, I'm sure.

    • by JeffSh (71237)

      "There's a big problem, says man with solution to said problem"

    • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

      "Hackers" didn't find it, and the article is like 4 paragraphs on 3 pages. It's an advert and a revenue generator for infoworld. Of course I have NoScript and other blockers, so I clicked through all 3 pages to waste their bandwidth. I suggest everyone do the same.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)
      The summary said:

      InfoWorld

      You said:

      That's not a news article, it's an advertisement

      Your post therefore deserves -1, Redundant.

    • Yup, as anyone familiar with The Street knows, the banksters have it sewn up as the usual suspects own all the exchanges and all the clearinghouses.

      Ergo, the same people who own the holding company which owns all the climate exchanges (Climate Exchange PLC) also is the same bunch who owns the InterContental Exchange (ICE) and all its subsidiaries, plus the DTCC, plus Markit Group (which prices all those thousands of categories of pesky credit derivatives [otherwise, they'd be worthless!], and ELX Futures, e

  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Thursday January 06, 2011 @05:20PM (#34783748) Homepage Journal

    That's what we hear, anyway, whenever anyone proposes that maybe ever-higher-speed trading isn't such a great idea.

    It's a load of crap, of course. Yes, liquidity is good. No, restricting trades to, say, one per second -- which is still faster than any trading ever took place during the centuries of stock trading before computer trading became common -- would not bring our economy to a screeching halt. In fact, it would probably encourage economic growth by encouraging actual investing instead of the giant casino that the stock market has become.

    Of course, in a casino, the house always wins, and since in the case the house also owns the House and the Senate too, this is never going to happen. Sigh.

    • by jfengel (409917) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @05:45PM (#34784060) Homepage Journal

      Liquidity IS good, and in the end, I don't see how this is doing anything but provide more of it.

      If the hackers are netting themselves a bunch of money by out-trading the other high-frequency-traders... good for them. It's not my money they're taking, because I've got better places to put my money than trying to out-arbitrage the arbitrageurs. But both of them, the Evil Hackers and the White Hat Ginormous Wall Street Bank, are both making sure that when I do sell my stocks, I've always got somebody to sell it to.

      The arbitrage means that maybe I'm losing .01% off the transaction. If that's Big Money in aggregate, it's still only a tiny fraction of the mount of money on the line. It's money I couldn't ever get my hands on.

      So I don't really much care who wins here. Let 'em fight it out.

      • by DriedClexler (814907) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @06:53PM (#34784882)

        If the hackers are netting themselves a bunch of money by out-trading the other high-frequency-traders... good for them. It's not my money they're taking...

        That's what I thought, too -- until Fall '08 hit, and I found out that if one of the big players lose to these guys, the government bails them out (at which point it *is* my money they're taking), revealing as a sham this whole idea that the big guys nobly make risky bets. No, if you're going to be bailed out on the downside, you weren't taking a risk to begin with -- ever.

        In theory, you're right -- but let's bring back the concept of "failing when you're wrong" to Wall Street before blithely dismissing the harm these guys can cause.

        And seriously -- is the tiny bit of extra liquidity REALLY worth the billions these guys sink into HFT?

        • by jfengel (409917)

          It wasn't the HFT they got hammered on. It was other investment strategies, ones with a lot less transparency. Worse, they were much longer term: we're still figuring out who owns all those bad debts.

          As far as I can tell, the HFT is harmless. Though I'm sure they'll find a way to prove me wrong on that.

      • by blair1q (305137)

        Fake liquidity created by machinery that is crocking the prices using irrational algorithms is not good.

        Being screwed in 5 nanoseconds is not preferable to getting a fair price after 2 days of waiting.

      • by Tom (822)

        Liquidity IS good, and in the end, I don't see how this is doing anything but provide more of it.

        It's simple, really. If they make a profit, they take money out of the system. Since the system doesn't generate money, that money is missing somewhere else. Or in other words: Someone else has to pay it. If you think that someone is the other high-speed traders, I have a bridge that you might be interested in.

  • by jsailor (255868) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @05:20PM (#34783750)

    There are several products on the market that are employed by the Exchanges and their large customers to track all of this.
    This is a marketing paper for what appears to be an interesting product.
    Existing vendors already capture, log, analyze (in realtime), traffic across multiple probes and provide real-time alerting along with monitoring, measurement, etc. These products are all leading edge and are changing rapidly. They've solved many problems with proprietary schemes of various sorts. Not the least of which was time synchronization at the nanosecond level.

    For very simple public information, just look at latencystats.com. Keep in mind, more detailed info and analysis is going on behind the scenes.

  • Firstly, it's not undetectable, since you just detected it. Secondly, it doesn't affect everybody, just the HFT people. Most of us don't have much sympathy for them, so we wouldn't consider it a problem.

    Scanning for this behavior is going to be challenging, as HFTers will want to detect this particular misbehavior while hiding their own misbehavior.

  • by HerculesMO (693085) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @05:22PM (#34783768)

    The reality of Wall Street ripping off the consumer is not far from reality. I work "in the industry" as well (and have, for 10 years), and I've seen and been witness to all kinds of shams and problems that Wall Street is culpable for.

    Let's just leave it simply, the average investor doesn't know *anything* about investing. They don't know stocks, bonds, they don't know diversification, they don't know how to change allocations before retirement age for 401ks, etc. But the sad thing is, Wall Street doesn't either. They may know the P/E ratios of firms, the current stock price, and lots of fancy math, but the reality is that a lot of money made on Wall Street isn't in active trading, it's in knowing their customers and playing on that information, and topping it all off with fees. For example, Goldman advises its customers, and the clients lose out, and Goldman wins -- See here. This isn't uncommon.

    The simplest secret about Wall Street is that the average investor can forgo using a trading firm, and just invest in an index fund instead (like the S&P). Those funds have very low fees, and require zero understanding about Wall Street. They go up as the economy gets better, they go down as it doesn't. And less than 20% of firms out there can *BEAT* the S&P, meaning that 80% actually do worse. In addition, they charge higher fees. So if you throw your money into the index fund, you don't have to know anything, and you do just as well as 80%+ of the firms out there, and keep the fees they'd charge you to just meet the same ROR in your pocket.

    Sadly, you'll never hear about this on the Street, because it would ruin their whole scam. The only thing you need to know is that 5-10 years before retirement age, pull out of indexes and put into guaranteed products so you don't get thrashed on your retirement day, and you'll be a happy camper.

    With the amount of influence Wall Street has in our government, in our economy, it's about due time we start getting them the hell out of the way so that we can do better as a country. I know it sounds cheesy, but it's true.

    • by u19925 (613350)
      The article is indeed bullshit and some of the claims violate the very fundamental laws of physics the author cite. Take for example "...it typically takes about 50 milliseconds to send a message from New York to London. Placing a server in between the two could cut the speed of communication in half, they said, which may be enough time to take advantage of some momentary pricing discrepancy....". How do you accomplish this. By the time you get trading data to server halfway and create a trade and send the
    • by labradore (26729) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @05:46PM (#34784072)

      When everyone buys index funds, the index managers have huge leverage to manipulate. The high freq traders have more leverage to manipulate the fund traders. The market as a whole becomes more correlated. There's nothing wrong with index investing, but if everyone does a lot of index investing, at some point you are looking into a pricing hall of mirrors instead of a working market and it takes fewer and smaller non-conforming players get enough leverage to tilt the whole applecart. We already see the effects of this from the studies that show that the markets are now more correlated than before the popularity of the index funds.

      If you want to limit the effects of rogue players, don't just ignore them. Prohibit their abuses. The 5-second trade granularity mentioned above seems like a good start.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      less than 20% of firms out there can *BEAT* the S&P,

      You do realize that's because the S&P comprises 500 companies that are winning already, don't you?

      It's pretty easy to look through the S&P itself and pick a couple of companies that will beat it over your desired interval.

      And if you're lucky, they'll beat inflation, too.

    • The simplest secret about Wall Street is that the average investor can forgo using a trading firm, and just invest in an index fund instead (like the S&P). Those funds have very low fees, and require zero understanding about Wall Street. They go up as the economy gets better, they go down as it doesn't. And less than 20% of firms out there can *BEAT* the S&P, meaning that 80% actually do worse. In addition, they charge higher fees. So if you throw your money into the index fund, you don't have to kn

  • Nor is it exactly new. After the last strange dip in the stock exchange a lot of research was done into this, and it basically comes down to inserting bullshit data into the stream so that competitors have to process the data while the injector does not.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/08/market-data-firm-spots-the-tracks-of-bizarre-robot-traders/60829/ [theatlantic.com]
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @05:42PM (#34784030) Homepage Journal
    Back in my day Wall Streeters got money the old fashioned way, they bribed politicians to funnel taxpayer money into the firms while simultaneously getting the politicians to look the other way when banks committed crimes....whats that you say? They are still doing that? Well I guess somethings never change.

    Now get off my lawn.....Whats that you say? The bank has illegally foreclosed on my property despite not actually being in debt to them and it's legally THEIR lawn now, and I'M the one that has to get off of it? Well, it's a good thing I have support from my local polit....ah fuck it.
  • So much trading is done by program these days - in the big sell off of stock in the banking crisis, if you bought Ford at $0.89 per share OR Dow at ~ $5 per share you'd be sitting pretty right now.

    Curse the holidays! If I hadn't been spending money on gifts and travel I could have made a killing!

  • by rsilvergun (571051)
    just ban this kind of trading already. The easy way to do it is set a minimum timeframe you're required to hold onto stock before selling.
    • by blair1q (305137)

      Or create a short-short term tax rate of 90% for anything held for under 12 hours.

  • Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert) wrote about this just a few weeks ago: http://www.dilbert.com/blog/entry/?EntryID=541 [dilbert.com].

    • by blair1q (305137)

      His conspiracy one is called front-running, and was one of the first things banned in the markets. But yes, if we can't see a trader's hands moving the shares and the dollars, we have no way to know whose trades he's prioritizing. Except that we do, because it's all logged and traceable to every hand in the chain from investor to specialist.

      His conspiracy two is cute, but the truth is that there's no way the State Department could hide the general nature of foreign relations behind a cover sheet. It's th

  • Stock trading is a scam!

    d'oh! Why did I not realize this years ago?!?!

    </sarcasm>

  • The story is organic fertilizer. If anything, the problem isn't hackers... the market is now an autonomous exercise in artificial intelligence, and for the most part, beyond human understanding. Don't get me wrong, we can understand parts, and even how some of those parts interact, we simply have no way of comprehending the aggregate and its immense degree of complexity. We have systems milking the tiniest fluctuations in the system sifting out whispers of profit in a hurricane of transactional data. These

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