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Dr. Fly

18 years in Wall Street, left after finding out it was all horseshit. Founder/ Master and Commander: iBankCoin, finance news and commentary from the future.

Tom Joyce: ‘It Was a Very Big Mistake”

Appearing on CNBC this morning, Joyce said the it was “absolutely” the best deal and the board was confident “we made the right choice.” He said there was a “big number” of parties interested in a deal, including private equity, clients and distressed investors.

“The flattering thing is how the industry responded to us,” Joyce said. “The wildly flattering thing was how our clients responded to us.”

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Art Cashin: The End of an Error

The End Of An Error – The conversation on both the floor and the financial media was dominated Wednesday morning
by a series of apparently erroneous trades.

Between the 9:30 opening and about 10:15, a series of larger than normal orders spewed onto the floor. A later post
mortem would reveal that there were approximately 150 different companies involved.

The orders were so large that in some cases they represented the average volume for 10 or even 20 days. Some may have
been subdivided into a series of smaller lots.

Things almost got ugly as the sharp price movements in the stocks produced sharp movements in the options for those
stocks. That set up a possible feedback loop with stocks influencing options which in turn influenced the stocks again.
That could have turned into a flash crash style chain reaction.

Luckily, the system worked, as humans intervened and several circuit breakers kicked in. Some stocks were temporarily
halted and the negative chain reaction was interrupted briefly but effectively. A notable victory for the humans.

Knight Trading, through whose system most of the orders appeared to have been transmitted, was said to turn away
further orders, presumably to limit client risk. The market seemed to interpret that as the problem was unresolved, and
leaned on the stock.

In five decades, we have seen all manner of errors. Some are simple misunderstandings. “Buy 5 million dollars worth of
IBM” becomes “Buy 5 million shares of IBM.”

Some are the results of short cuts. Several decades back, when program trading was in its infancy, some traders at Kidder
Peabody tried to reduce the number of key strokes. Since we only traded in round lots of 100 shares or more, the last two
zeroes were redundant. So, they taught the computer that when you hit a 1, the computer should automatically add two
zeros to make it 100.

That worked fine until one lazy summer day, a trader told an intern to sell 1700 shares of Boeing (BA) The unknowing kid
naturally typed in 1700 and the computer added 00 making the 1700 into 170,000 shares.

It might have been caught but the computer had been taught another shortcut. To keep their orders from being caught
up in a “large order net” and handed to a human, they taught the computer to slice and dice large orders into multiple
orders of 500 shares.

So, on a lazy summer afternoon, the auto-routing mechanism at the Boeing post began to shoot orders out like a machine
gun. Luckily, the day was slow enough that a human caught it before more than 50,000 had been executed.

Errors on Wall Street have a long history, unfortunately.

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Futures are now down 55 after the ECB disappoints with no interest rate cuts or LTRO, just talk.


That is a reversal of nearly 150 Dow points.

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Knight says yesterday’s trading issues resulted in a $440m pre-tax loss and have severely impacted its capital base

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World badminton has apologized for a scandal that has sullied the sport’s reputation at the London Olympics and resulted in eight women being disqualified from the tournament.

The expulsion of the four women’s doubles pairs earlier on Wednesday sent shockwaves through the tournament, removing China’s top-seeded duo and other doubles pairs from the South Korean and Indonesian teams.

“I’m very, very sorry this has happened for both the players and for the sport,” Badminton World Federation secretary general Thomas Lund told a media conference.

“We made this decision for the best interests of all the players.

“The most important thing is to deal with such cases in a firm and fair manner.”


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Zerohedge: This is What Happens When HFT Goes Totally Berserk and Serves Knight Capital with the Bill $KCG

We all know something went horribly wrong in various NYSE-traded stocks today between 9:30 am and 10:15 am. So wrong in fact that the NYSE had to step in and cancel numerous trades in 6 symbols. However it did not DK millions of other trades in 134 other symbols, the vast majority of which we assume traded errantly due to the market making of Knight Capital (as admitted by the company), which today saw its biggest drop ever since going public on volume about 60 times greater than its average. We also all know that one should buy low and sell high. At least that is whathuman traders are taught, and that is what they attempt. Because if one consistently does the opposite, one will simply run out of money. Well, the opposite is precisely what the berserk algo in Knight’s Market Making group may have done if Nanex, which has done a forensic analysis of one of the trades in question, is correct. In other words, instead of at least attempting to provide liquidity via limit trades, Knight’s algorithm acted as a market order… gone horribly wrong. As the third chart below shows what the algo did with furious repetition and steadfast consistency was to buy at the offer, and sell at the bid, in other words buy high and sell low. Over and over and over and over. As Nanex laconically notes, “In the case of EXC, that means losing about 15 cents on every pair of trades. Do that 40 times a second, 2400 times a minute, and you now have a system that’s very efficient at burning money.” Which also means that by not DK’ing several hundred million prints, the NYSE may have just thrown Knight under the bus, because the market maker is suddenly on the hook for tens if not hundreds of millions in inverse market making profits.

Here we will assume that readers are sufficiently familiar with market structure to know that market makers only participate in the market in order to collect liquidity rebates, i.e., to be the limit on the bid which is hit, or the offer which is lifted. What Knight did was effectively the opposite, and it also collected the opposite of a rebate: i.e., it paid someone else for no reason at all… well technically to withdraw liquidity. However liquidity that led to creation of losses not profits.

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Phillip and Donna Walls were under attack Monday — or at least they thought they were.
The couple was using bath salts — a type of synthetic drug — when they called 911 to complain that phantom gang members were camped out under their house, police in Kings Mountain, N.C., said.
“They were there yesterday and last night,” Donna told the dispatcher.
The couple then allegedly hauled a military bag full of weapons outside, and Donna fired about seven shots into the air.
Their neighbors, Richard and Debra Robinson, got caught in between the couple’s delusions and a terrifying reality when the paranoid suspected shooters forced their way into the Robinsons’ home, WSOC-TV reported.
“They were delusional,” Debra Robinson said. “They really thought somebody was out to kill them.”
Despite the danger, Richard Robinson, a pastor, said he knew the couple needed help.
“I was little afraid, don’t get me wrong,” he recalled. “But even in that state of mind, he had enough presence to ask me to pray for him.”

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