May 7, 2010

Busting Millions of Trades? Feels Like Science Fiction

Yesterday felt like science fiction, with the humans finally realizing that machines have long taken over the financial world. Of course, there are humans behind those machines (traders call them "the box") - but it will be interesting to see if the regulators (see SEC/CFTC's press release) and journalists will be able to figure out what truly went wrong. I doubt that even the quants behind those machines can figure it out.

I don't have a lot of confidence in the stock market being "fair" these days. And the fact that millions of trades will be busted due to yesterday's "trader error" doesn't help. I'll be curious to see who gets bailed out by busting these trades. I imagine some quants will be saved, while others will be angry that their big bargain buys will be cancelled. Good news for some lawyers I imagine.

- Zero Hedge's "MUST HEAR: Panic And Loathing From The S&P 500 Pits"

- NY Times' "It's Not About Greece Anymore"

- Washington Post's "Greek crisis exposes cracks in Europe's foundation"

- The Market Ticker's "Mr. President: Unplug the F*ing Computers"

- NY Times' "High-Speed Trading Glitch Costs Investors Billions"

- Minyanville's "Dow Freefall Shows We Have a Quant Problem"

- Zero Hedge's "Dissecting the Crash"

- WSJ's "Did Shutdowns Make Plunge Worse?"

Don't forget this morning is Goldman Sach's annual meeting - that is sure to bring some fireworks. And if you're wondering where I got the "millions" for the title of this blog, it was drawn from the end of this WaPo article..

The Status of the Senate's Financial Reform Efforts

With over 100 amendments offered on the Dodd bill over the past two weeks, it's impossible to know the shape of the bill that the Senate ultimately will pass (although two of those changes were officially tacked onto the Dodd bill on Wednesday). And those 100-plus proposed amendments were made before yesterday's chaos - that craziness is sure to bring out a few new amendments.

Debate on the bill is expected to continue for at least another week. Note that some of the amendments do seek to strip proxy access and mandatory majority votes from the bill, as noted in Ted Allen's blog.

Are Tattoos Appropriate for Professional Women?

Thanks to the many for their kind words on my 8th blogging anniversary this week. It got me thinking about how many lawyers now blog (I'm still convinced we've barely scratched the surface on how many lawyers will be blogging soon enough; read my piece to figure out what it takes to be a blogger). All sorts of legal blogs have emerged. For example, in this blog, Corporette answers the question: "Are tattoos appropriate for professional women?"

- Broc Romanek