Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Next Financial Crisis Is Already Here! John Lewis 99% Profits CRASH - Retail Sector Collapse - Nadeem_Walayat
2.Why Is Apple Giving This Tiny Stock A $900 Million Opportunity? - James Burgess
3.Gold Price Trend Analysis - - Nadeem_Walayatt
4.The Beginning of the End of the Dollar - Richard_Mills
5.Stock Market Trend Forecast Update - - Nadeem_Walayat
6.Hindenburg Omen & Consumer Confidence: More Signs of Stock Market Trouble in 2019 - Troy_Bombardia
7.Precious Metals Sector: It’s 2013 All Over Again - P_Radomski_CFA
8.Central Banks Have Gone Rogue, Putting Us All at Risk - Ellen_Brown
9.Gold Stocks Forced Capitulation - Zeal_LLC
10.The Post Bubble Market Contraction Thesis Receives Validation - Plunger
Last 7 days
United States Facing Climate Change Severe Water Stress - 10th Dec 18
Waiting for Gold Price to Erupt - 10th Dec 18
Stock Market Key Support Being Re-Tested - 10th Dec 18
May BrExit Deal Tory MP Votes Forecast, Betting Market Analysis - 10th Dec 18
Listen to What Gold is Telling You - 10th Dec 18
The Stock Market’s Long Term Outlook is Changing - 10th Dec 18
Palladium Shortages Expose Broken Futures Markets for Precious Metals - 9th Dec 18
Is an Inverted Yield Curve Bullish for Gold? - 9th Dec 18
Rising US Home Prices and Falling Sales - 8th Dec 18
Choosing Who the Autonomous Car Should Kill - 8th Dec 18
Stocks Selloff Boosting Gold - 8th Dec 18
Will Weak US Dollar Save Gold? - 7th Dec 18
This Is the End of Trump’s Economic Sugar High - 7th Dec 18
US Economy Will Deteriorate Over Next Half Year. What this Means for Stocks - 7th Dec 18
The Secret Weapon for Getting America 5G Ready - 7th Dec 18
These Oil Stocks Are a Ticking Time Bomb - 7th Dec 18
How Theresa May Put Britain on the Path Towards BrExit Civil War - 7th Dec 18
How easy is it to find a job in the UK iGaming industry? - 6th Dec 18
Curry's vs Jessops - Buying an Olympus TG-5 Tough Camera - 5th Dec 18
Yield Curve Harbinger of Stock Market Doom - 5th Dec 18
Stock Market Crashed While the Yield Curve Inverted - 5th Dec 18
Global Economic Outlook after Trump-Xi Trade War Timeout - 5th Dec 18
Stock Market Dow Plunge Following Fake US - China Trade War Truce - 5th Dec 18
Subverting BREXIT - British People vs Parliament Risks Revolution - 5th Dec 18
Profit from the Global Cannabis Boom by Investing in the Beverage Industry - 4th Dec 18
MP's Vote UK Government Behaving like a Dictatorship, in Contempt of Parliament - 4th Dec 18
Isn't It Amazing How The Fed Controls The Stock Market? - 4th Dec 18
Best Christmas LED String and Projector Lights for 2018 - Review - 4th Dec 18
The "Special 38" Markets You Should Trade ebook - 4th Dec 18
Subverting BrExit - AG Confirms May Backstop Deal Means UK Can NEVER LEAVE the EU! - 3rd Dec 18
The Bottled Water Bamboozle - 3rd Dec 18
Crude Oil After November’s Declines - 3rd Dec 18
Global Economic Perceptions Are Shifting - Asia China Markets Risks - 3rd Dec 18
Weekly Charts and Update on Equity Markets, FX Trades and Commodities - 3rd Dec 18
TICK TOCK, Counting Down to the Next Recession - 3rd Dec 18
Stock Market Key (Short-term) Support Holds - 3rd Dec 18
Stocks Bull Market Tops Are a Process - 3rd Dec 18
More Late-cycle Signs for the Stock Market and What’s Next - 3rd Dec 18
A Post-Powell View of USD, S&P 500 and Gold - 2nd Dec 18
Elliott Wave: SPX Decision Time Is Coming Soon - 2nd Dec 18
Junior Gold Stocks Q3’18 Fundamentals - 1st Dec 18
Little-Known BDC Stocks Thrive Amid Rising Rates and Earn Investors +7% Yields - 1st Dec 18
Ray Dalio: This Debt Cycle Will End Soon - 1st Dec 18
Bank of England Warns UK House Prices 30% BrExit Crash! - 1st Dec 18
Gold Fundamentals Improving but Not Bullish Yet - 30th Nov 18
What the Oil Short-sellers and OPEC Don’t Know about Peak Shale - 30th Nov 18
Global Economic Perceptions Are Shifting Imnplications for Stock Market - 30th Nov 18
The US Economy is Getting Worse. What this Means for Stocks - 30th Nov 18
Trailblazers Leading the Way in Online Reputation Management - 30th Nov 18
The Shift in Trend from Physical Printers to Online Printers - 30th Nov 18
UK House Prices 2019 No Deal BrExit 30% Crash Warning! - 30th Nov 18
Stocks Rallied, New Uptrend? - 29th Nov 18
The Fed Will Probably Stop Hiking Rates in 2019. What’s Next for Stocks - 29th Nov 18
Love. Fear. Inflation. A Precious Metals' Trifecta - 29th Nov 18
GBP/USD – Double Bottom or Further Declines? - 29th Nov 18
Stock Market Santa Rally Still a GO to Dow 27,000? - 29th Nov 18
UK Government and Bank of England BrExit Economic Armageddon Propaganda - 29th Nov 18
Why the Crude Oil Price Collapsed to $50 - 28th Nov 18
Gold Joins the Decline – the Earth is Shaking - 28th Nov 18
Watch This Picture As Asset Prices Fall - 28th Nov 18
GE’s Stock Price Crash Holds an Important Lesson About Investing - 28th Nov 18
5 Rules for Successful Trading - 28th Nov 18
Dollar Trend Imposes: EURUSD to Fall to 1.11 - 28th Nov 18
Gold, Original Money, Fiat Money - 28th Nov 18
When Will the Stocks Bull Market End? - 28th Nov 18
Looking ahead: Why the Smart Money is Investing in Green Energy - 28th Nov 18
The Yield Curve Will Invert Soon. What’s Next for the Stock Market - 27th Nov 18
Silver Trading and the Hands of a Broken Clock - 27th Nov 18
What's Inside SMIGGLE Christmas Advent Calender 2018 - 27th Nov 18
Investing in Recession Proof Trailer Parks - 27th Nov 18
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Debt Consolidation - 27th Nov 18
GDX, This Most-Hated Stock Could Return You 140% in Just a Few Months - 27th Nov 18

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How You Could Make £2,850 Per Month

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

© 2005-2018 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

6 Critical Money Making Rules