you can fool some of the robots some of the time

  • 05 Oct 2011 at 12:27 PM

Efficient Markets News Of The Day

We live in a golden age of information dissemination and stock liquidity, in which news moves faster than earthquakes and high-frequency-trading robots can trade faster than you can blink, meaning that the next time there’s an earthquake your 401k will have bought construction stocks and Twitter even before you stop shaking.

But we’re also living in a golden age of misinformation, where you can find someone to publish pretty much any rumor you want, and those rumors can move markets up or down instantly. And for some reason the robots who’ve been put in charge of markets seem to be not dispassionate calculating machines but rather touchy C-3PO types, and can exacerbate the speed and severity of crashes with their hypersensitivity. But the upside should be that the recovery from millisecond crashes should be similarly quick – once misinformation is corrected, the robots should dry their tears, blow their noses, and bid prices back up in a few more milliseconds.

Maybe not so much. Three New York Fed researchers looked at a particularly silly case:
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