Oct

31

Today we were treated to yet another Fed Day dipsie doodle move. What is remarkable is that this event is so predictable on Fed day. It happens almost every time they make an announcement after their meeting.

Instantly, at the moment of the announcement, the market moves dramatically in one direction. This disruptive behavior causes everyone to second-guess his positions. Thoughts of "maybe a drop in interest rates is really bad" crossed many minds. Today's drop of about 12 points in the S&P cash index in just a few minutes was sufficient to free up lots of short term stock.

Just as swiftly the market zoomed upward. All the lost valuation was restored within just a few minutes. The market even added on some ten more points to break into new high territory for the day. "Hooray, it was really good news after all!" Or was it? As this is written it is about an hour after the event and the market is slowly settling back to its level before the announcement came out.

Bruno Ombreux recalls:

Ten years ago I visited a bank trading room on a Fed day. They probably have been replaced by robots now, but back then they had human traders waiting for the Fed headline to print on the screen, with one finger on the sell hotkey and one on the buy, and they sent orders within one second of the headline's printing.

This contrasted with my then-employer's practice. Currency and fixed-income traders were forbidden to trade around headlines. After a Fed communique, the trading manager and senior traders left the trading room to meet in a quiet office. They analysed the Fed action to reach a consensus decision within 15 minutes, after which they walked back to the trading room, gave instructions to execution traders and then the whole room went rock and roll.


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