Any one who remembers the Stock Market “Flash Crash” back on May 6, 2010 may have experienced a sinking “Oh no, not again!” feeling from the quick dip the stock market took recently.
At first we were relieved to hear that it was a false call, that it was due to a trading computer picking up on a hacked Associated Press Twitter account. Then the implications began to become obvious and there was a collective “Uh oh.”
Sal Arnuk, a principal at Themis Trading had this to say, “At what point do we actually see the SEC recognize that they’ve created a marketplace that they can’t control?” Arnuk questioned. “Where did the fake Tweet come from? A kid in Uzbekistan? A hedge fund in India? A Russian mobster? Who can regulate it? The answer is, no one at this point.”
The list of possible answers to that question do not stop there. How about a terrorist here in the U.S. or in the Middle East, or a digital crime lord in China, or even a battalion of high-tech cyber-spies in North Korea?
One of the most amazing things to witness was the speed at which this vast amount of assets disappeared and then came back. It gives one pause to think that something we are told has value could evaporate like in a Las Vegas casino.
“It was unprecedented in terms of how fast liquidity disappeared and trading activity pegged at extreme levels,” said Eric Hunsader, founder of Nanex. “When you value speed over everything else, you end up with algos that will shoot first and ask questions later, There’s simply no time for them to do any fact-checking.”
While all assets rise and correct, it may be well advised to take a look at the history of gold, which has never been worth nothing, unlike the components of the stock market.