15 July 2014

Nanex: The Market Is Rigged, With Details

"A rogue does not laugh in the same way that an honest man does; a hypocrite does not shed the tears of a man of good faith. All falsehood is a mask; and however well made the mask may be, with a little attention we may always succeed in distinguishing it from the true face."

Alexandre Dumas

The market is rigged.  Oh no, this could not possibly be correct, say the trolls, shills, revolving door careerists, media carnival barkers, and conmen's assistants. They simply do not understand it!

The analysis from Nanex, rich in details, does not only apply to very large orders in excess of 10,000 shares.  I have seen the same type of activity in smaller markets with orders of only a few thousand shares.  Anyone who has Level 2 access can observe it if they look closely enough, and have the will to look with their eyes and see.

These pampered princes of Wall Street are steadily degrading the markets, and distorting and taxing the real economy with their bias to speculative grifting rather than facilitating productive investment.

I do not agree that a 'free for all market' would be better than this.  Some of these schemes are as basically corrupt as a West Coast gangster's attempt to control all the horse racing wire services information for his own benefit.  And you don't fix corruption by firing all the police and prosecutors.

There are a few things that would go a long way to fixing this.  Fairness is not so terribly hard to establish if you do not wish to twist it with the faux complexity of a confidence racket that advantages some because.

I suspect that nothing will work until we root the big money out of politics.  Its corrupting influence touches everything and is corrosive to the common good, giving scandal to all by its shameful example. 

In some sense, this would be turning the markets back to what they were before they became utter casinos dominated by big players unleashed by the repeal of Glass-Steagall and the divestment of sound regulation in the name of a utopian market ideology that serves to promote a new level of systemic criminality.

This is analysis and conclusion below is from NANEX.

"...All this evidence points to one inescapable conclusion:

The order cancellations and trade executions just before, and during the trader's order were not a coincidence. This is premeditated, programmed theft, plain and simple.

Michael Lewis probably said it best when he told 60 minutes that the stock market is rigged.

To the High Frequency Traders (HFT) that make fantastic claims about providing liquidity, perhaps one should ask: "what kind of liquidity"? To the now obvious, ludicrous claim that "everyone's order uses the same tools that HFT uses", we'll just say, the data shows otherwise. To Mary Jo White and other officials who claim the market isn't rigged and that regulators need to look at the data before making any decisions: well, you made it this far - if things aren't clear, re-read this expose (or the nearly 3000 others pages we've published), or simply call us and we'll explain it to you. Or dust off Midas and lets us show you how to work with market data.

One more note to the SEC in particular - if you believe that the industry can fix these problems on their own, then we believe you are no longer fit to regulate, because that is not, and never was, how Wall Street works. Honestly, a free for all, no–holds–barred environment would be better than the current system of complicated rules which are partially enforced, but only against some participants. And make no mistake, what is shown above is as close to automatic pilfering as one can get. It probably results in a few firms showing spectacularly perfect trading records; it definitely results in people believing the market is unfair and corrupt.

And to CNBC and other financial media companies who say these problems have all been fixed - we think you might have been lied to. Probably by the ones doing the market rigging. A certain HFT lobbyist group immediately comes to mind - the one that presents the same tired "liquidity, spreads, costs" argument, without data to back it up. This paper shows that the liquidity claim is clearly a lie.

Academics interested in continuing the study shown on this page - we believe we know how you can find and quantify these events. Serious inquiries only please.

Note that none of this would be possible if the direct feeds weren't illegally supplying HFT with faster information than the SIP.

And finally, to our regular readers: we are taking a break. Everyone has a limit to how much corruption they can witness and digest in a given period of time and we've simply reached our limit."

You may read the detailed examination and explanation of this from Nanex here.