Tagged: Algorithm

Algo Rhythm

At Winter Park Sunday scooting off the Panoramic high-speed chair at 12,060 feet and cooking downslope on skis, the trip was anything but algorithmic.

No, skimming from summit to the lift slow zone was uniquely and individually exhilarating. But in equity markets, unique exhilaration more often comes from derivative bets that randomly pop stocks 7-8%. Otherwise, your shares blend with millions of other securities across asset classes mixed and matched in proprietary recipes aimed at unique outcomes from ordinariness.

Last week, we likened the movie Moneyball, about baseball statistics, to how stocks trade today. Let’s go one step further. Your story is unique. You differentiate your performance from your peers. We as individuals want to be valued on our own merits. So we hope our company’s shares are examined discretely.

Institutional and retail investors want the same thing, right? Distinct success stories, diamonds in the rough. Listening to advertisements from big mutual funds, you get the sense that analysts are rooting in the rice paddies of southeast Asia to learn why fiber optics from the Philippines are the next big opportunity for a German manufacturer of diodes. Or whatever. (more…)

On the NYSE and Knight Floors

Denver is an icebox, so we went east to New York to warm up. Lovely here, the tree glittering at Rockefeller Center and the snowflakes magically materializing to music on the Saks & Co. façade. Festive!

Carmen Barone and the Barclays team graciously hosted me yesterday on the NYSE trading floor, and in the afternoon Marge Wywras at Knight Capital Group turned me loose with the traders on the Knight floor in Jersey City. That’s darned near a perfect business day to me. (more…)

Size (of trades) Matters

Mother Nature and Denver last week were like a samba episode of Dancing with the Stars, twirling furiously. In fact, snow torpedoed my trip to Boston, but only after an hour floundering through a foot of slush to the airport at an average speed of 25 mph. And today it’s 70 degrees on the Front Range.

Switching gears, I owe a mea culpa. We’ve berated the exchanges for fueling conditions that constrain real investment – fragmentation, rebates, direct access, sponsored access, high-frequency trading, flash orders etc, et al, since data and transactions are keys to exchange prosperity. But Duncan Niederauer’s interview in the weekend Wall Street Journal (see link below) was the best call yet for return to capital formation in the equity markets. I am now cooking up a comfort-food casserole of crow in the crock pot.  I did drop a note to Mr. Niederauer saying so, too.

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Volatility and Small Caps

We’ll spend the bulk of today’s note explaining why small-cap stocks increasingly find their shareholdings dominated by a few large quantitative institutions.

First this on equity markets: Last week we noticed a surge in “volatility trading.” We’ve written before about these tactics that capitalize on volatility as the asset instead of the direction of the markets or a given security.

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