I don't have one for sale, but I know some folks that are willing to sell you... well, it's not a watch, but it's something much, much better. They'll sell you time. You want to buy some time?
Turns out, and who knew, you can buy time. You, yes you, can buy a few seconds for a whole bunch of money. High-frequency trading outfits and apparently tons of other "traders" and "investors" are buying this time. You can, too.
For a "Fistful of Dollars," what you get is a few seconds head start on knowing some very important economic data points.
It's amazing what money can buy.
Forget integrity, it's not for sale because it's out of stock. But if you want to buy the University of Michigan's highly regarded and market-moving report on consumer confidence, you can get it, right alongside the "investors" like the HFT boys and girls who pay the University to get the numbers two seconds before the rest of the world sees them.
Or you can pony up next to the same crowd that buys the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index numbers before the world sees them.
It's not insider trading. It's totally legal.
I'M NOT KIDDING.
On Wednesday, out of left field comes this revelation that for some time folks willing to pay to get market-moving data from private, non-governmental sources, sources that we all rely on, that we all thought were providing important (equal access) economic data points, have been getting that market-moving data before we all see it.
And they are making a ton of money front running all of us.
Apparently, selling access is "routine," according to some sellers. Besides the usual creeps manipulating the markets for their own bottom lines, Thomson Reuters is also buying data points from these sources and charging their news-feed customers a fat premium to get it passed along to them.
Hey, wanna buy some time?
I'M NOT KIDDING.
Honestly, I didn't know. I had no idea. For heaven's sake, if I'd known, I'd have gladly paid to gain a few seconds for a few hundred million dollars. I can afford it.
The truth is, I'm glad this came out. I've had my eye on this Russian's mega-yacht (the owner is building a new 1000-foot model), and with the extra time I can buy I'm going to make an offer. It might take me a few months of getting the data ahead of the tape to position myself to make those mega-millions, but that other ship won't be ready until the Baltic Dry Index hits it support levels.
Like the old saying goes, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. And, darn it, I want to join that big yacht club. Besides, it will look great anchored off my place in the Hamptons.
I'd say more about the whole affair, but I have to go. I'm arranging a thank-you lunch and having the SEC, all of those darling folks, over to thank them for their generosity in allowing the complete bastardization of "fair and orderly" markets.
While I'm at it, maybe I'll ask the folks at the SEC how much it costs to buy their integrity to allow this "event jumping" or "news feed trading," as it's called by its long-time practitioners.
Well, that's it, I gotta go. Got a little luncheon and charity auction I'm putting on for the SEC. God bless American regulatory entrepreneurialism! That they can be bought is a beautiful thing.
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