Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Will UK Interest Rate Rises Crash House Prices? - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Full on Crash Alert for Major World Stock Markets... - Clive_Maund
3.Gold And Silver Market Bottoming? Big Rally Imminent? Reality Check Says NO - Michael_Noonan
4.The Coming Silver Price Rally Will Outperform All Previous Ones - Hubert_Moolman
5.The Trigger For The Upcoming Stock Crash - Harry_Dent
6.Imploding Department Store Results - James_Quinn
7.Dr. Copper is Speaking, are you Listening? ... - Rambus_Chartology
8.Pandemonium in the Stock Market, Dow falls 1,000 points in a week - EWI
9.Asia's Whirling Dervish of Devaluations Has Encircled China's Exports - Keith_Hilden
10.China Weakens the Yuan; Rattles Global Stock and Financial Markets - Gary_Dorsch
Last 5 days
This Stock Market VIX Chart Should Blow Your Mind - 3rd Sept 15
Eurodystopia: A Future Divided - 3rd Sept 15
Stock Market Prepares for the Next Decline - 3rd Sept 15
Europe Rethinks the Schengen Agreement - 3rd Sept 15
BP Oil Company Moves past Mistakes But Still Feeling Price Pinch - 3rd Sept 15
EU Migration Crisis and Population Density, Why Cameron is Right, England Really is Full - 3rd Sept 15
Stock Market Return to Crisis: Things Keep Getting Worse - 3rd Sept 15
Dow Theory Stock Market Sell Signal Examined - 3rd Sept 15
How OPEC’s Attempt to Save Face Affects the Crude Oil Market - 3rd Sept 15
Crude Oil Price Forecast 2015 and 2016 - Video - 3rd Sept 15
The Real Threat from China’s Stock Market Crash - 2nd Sept 15
How Our “Mixed Economy” Created These Mixed-Up Markets - 2nd Sept 15
'Gravity' Is Returning to Stocks and Bond Markets - 2nd Sept 15
OPEC Divorce And Self-Destruction Thanks To Saudi Crude Oil Strategy? - 1st Sept 15
The Beginning Of A New Financial / Stock Market Cycle - 1st Sept 15
Three Things Every Master Trader Knows About Trading Options - 1st Sept 15
Chinese Yuan Revolution? - 1st Sept 15
Take Advantage of Record-High Auto Sales… Before This Bubble Bursts - 1st Sept 15
Pondering Hitler's Legacy - 1st Sept 15
Mainstream Media Goes Berserk - 1st Sept 15
Your Decisive Stock Market Plan to Follow Whilst Most Investors Shiver With Fear - 1st Sept 15
Are There Stock and Financial Markets Investing Opportunities For The Remainder Of 2015 - 1st Sept 15
Crude Oil Price Forecast 2015 and 2016 - 1st Sept 15
REPO Window Hidden $Trillion QE Monthly Volume - 31st Aug 15
Silver and Warnings From Exponential Markets - 31st Aug 15
Stock Market Calls Fed’s Bluff - 31st Aug 15
Why Some ETFs Led the Stock Markets Down Last Week - 31st Aug 15
Stock Market Collapse - Take The Opportunity To Bail Before It’s Too Late! - 31st Aug 15
The Most Important Market Chart on The Planet - 31st Aug 15
Stock Market 50% Retracement - 31st Aug 15
Stock Market Crash Red Alert for 2nd Downwave... - 31st Aug 15
Independant Scotland 1 Year on, UK Civil War If the SNP Fanatics Had Succeeded - 30th Aug 15
Gold’s 7 Point Broadening Top - 30th Aug 15
The Day the Stock Market Shook the Earth: Takeaways From the Dow’s 1,000-Point Drop - 30th Aug 15
Gold Price Rally Marked by Short Covering - 30th Aug 15
Aging Stocks Bull Market - 29th Aug 15
Economic Destabilization, Financial Meltdown and the Rigging of the Shanghai Stock Market? - 29th Aug 15
The Stocks You Should Be Buying After the Market Drop - 29th Aug 15
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Market Fluctuations - 28th Aug 15
China's Yuan Devaluation: Why It Was "Expected" - 28th Aug 15
Stocks Go Nuts But the Question Remains – Will the Rally Stick? - 28th Aug 15
Fed’s Stock Market Levitation is Failing - 28th Aug 15
The Eight Energy Systems Driving The Stock Market Rout - 28th Aug 15
Silver Sold, then Squeezed - 28th Aug 15
U.S. Economic Fundamentals 'Look Good' - Bullard of St. Louis Fed - 28th Aug 15
Stock Market Margin Calls Mount - 28th Aug 15
Einstein, Physics, Gold and The Formula To End Economic Decay - 28th Aug 15
The 10 Best Stocks for Options Trading Plays in This Market - 28th Aug 15
Economics of a Stock Market Crash - 28th Aug 15
Currency Wars Detonate; Gold Refuses to Budge - 28th Aug 15
UK Immigration Crisis Hits New Record, Trending Towards Becoming a Catastrophe - 28th Aug 15

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Global Stocks Slide

Are Dark Pools Destined to be the Next Financial Black Hole?

Stock-Markets / Market Manipulation Jul 10, 2008 - 09:35 AM GMT

By: Keith_Fitz-Gerald

Stock-Markets

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleWe can almost hear that ominous " Jaws " theme music in the background and can see that huge dorsal fin as it slices threateningly through the water - knowing full well that the real terror is hidden beneath the water's surface.

But this time around, it's not a "Great White" that's sparking our fears; it's a well-capitalized and broadly based series of secret stock exchanges known as " Dark Pools of Liquidity ," "Dark Liquidity," or just "Dark Pools."


Most investors have never even heard the term - and are truly shocked to discover these "off-the-books" trading networks actually exist.

But to Wall Street insiders looking to anonymously move billions of dollars in stocks, bonds, and other investment instruments, dark pools are de rigueur - especiallywhen you're an institutional trader who doesn't want to reveal your intentions or your actions to the "rest" of the market, until after the fact when the orders are "printed."

And that makes these dark pools of capital highly problematic when it comes transparency: There is literally none in most pools and only limited visibility in others.

Dark Pools: From Trading Haven to Heavyweight

Dark Pools are electronic " crossing networks " that offer institutional investors many of the same benefits associated with making trades on the stock exchanges' public limit order books - without tipping their hands to others, meaning publicly quoted prices aren't affected. This is the capital markets' version of a godsend - especially for traders who desire to move large blocks of shares without the public investors ever knowing.

Some examples of so-called crossing networks include Liquidnet Inc. , Pipeline , the Posit unit of Investment Technology Group ( ITG ), or the SIGMA X unit of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. ( GS ).

In an era in which "secret" transactions contributed to what's shaping up to be the largest credit crisis in history, you'd think that any mechanism that allows insiders to trade in complete secrecy and with total anonymity would be scrutinized more closely than a Roger Clemens vitamin shot . But that's not the case with Dark Pools.

As has long been the case, the old boys really do like to operate behind closed doors, on the other side of the "velvet rope" - beyond which the un-anointed daily working stiff may never pass. And Dark-Pool operators are only getting more private as computerized trading becomes more sophisticated and large-scale-order placement evolves into a science all to itself.

Dark Pool ownership involves almost the entire institutional-trading sector, consisting of independents, broker/dealer-owned pools, consortiums and even - as hard as this is to imagine, given the public's trust - the stock exchanges themselves (See accompanying chart).

And business is booming.

According to the latest data, nearly 12% of daily U.S. stock-trading volume is presently conducted via the 40 or so Dark Pools operated by the " usual suspects ."

According to The Wall Street Journal , Credit Suisse Group AG (ADR: CS ) is assembling a network of 30 Dark Pool partners, while JP Morgan Chase & Co. ( JPM ) is trying to become the Google Inc. ( GOOG ) of the Dark Pool world by aligning itself with Neovest Inc . Not to be left out, Goldman Sachs recently struck reciprocal deals with rivals UBS AG ( UBS ) and Morgan Stanley ( MS ) to allow previously proprietary trading algorithms to work on each other's desktop trading systems.

This is something the stock exchanges don't want to see because it strips them of order execution revenue. Which is why they're getting into the game, too. At the present time, the Nasdaq ( NDAQ ) alone shunts some 18% of its volume - or roughly 350 million shares a day - through what insiders euphemistically refer to as its "non-displayed platforms," and also has struck a deal with five unnamed Dark Pool operators that are rumored to route nearly half of the total Dark-Pool volume in the United States today.

NYSE Euronext ( NYX ) plans to connect up to 30 such pools, so don't think for a New York minute that this isn't a global phenomenon - Dark Pools exist all around the globe.

We're still in the early days of this movement. That means there are still lots of things to be worked out from a technical standpoint. For instance, there's very little in the way of proprietary software that enables any Dark Pool operators to "talk" with their competition.

But we think that's going to change in a real hurry in the next few years, when as much as 50% of all U.S. trading volume will be handled by "Dark Pool Alliances."

Dark Pool Downers?

While it's hard to say just how this will affect individual investors like us, my experience as a professional trader suggests that there are a few "realities" we can count upon.

As you might expect, not all of them are good.

Let's look at the top three:

  • First, as more volume moves to the so-called Dark Pools, the very notion of what constitutes "public pricing" becomes suspect. Practically speaking, if we're seeing only 50% of the trading volume in a given stock, who's to say that the pricing we're seeing is accurate if the other half remains a mystery.
  • Second, the small- and mid-cap stocks that for so long have been the domain of smaller investors will likely become harder to trade. The reason: Dark Pools will absorb the liquidity that's presently out in the open, just as a " black hole " in outer space sucks in all the matter that's nearby. The net effect could be that smaller transactions become more inefficient, or that public pricing actually disconnects from private pricing. Either way, individual investors may not get the best possible prices.
  • Third, you can bet regulators will get interested if there is even a whiff of impropriety at the expense of smaller investors who perceive (and rightly so) that they are being "locked out" of the markets by the big boys yet again.

On the other hand, maybe those regulators don't care at all. With the economy going the way it is right now, there's plenty more to worry about… like making it out of the water and back up onto the beach before the music stops and "you-know-who" grabs you from below…… da-dun…da-dun….da-dun….da-dun .

News and Related Story Links :

By Keith Fitz-Gerald
Investment Director

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

©2008 Monument Street Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), of content from this website, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Monument Street Publishing. 105 West Monument Street, Baltimore MD 21201, Email: customerservice@moneymorning.com

Disclaimer: Nothing published by Money Morning should be considered personalized investment advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investment advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication, or 72 hours after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended by Money Morning should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Keith Fitz-Gerald Archive

© 2005-2015 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Biggest Debt Bomb in History