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We are all at the mercy of news trading algos

It’s become commonplace for news stories to drastically and instantly influence the movement of stock prices. This has become more observable in the past two years, with China trade deal news dominating headlines seemingly every day.

According to Larry Harris (Trading & Exchanges) there are four kinds of informed traders, with news traders exhibiting the second most influence on the market. According to Harris:

News traders collect and act upon new information about instrument values. They try to predict out instrument values will change, given new information. News traders try very hard to discover material information before other traders to.

Unlike value traders, news traders do not estimate the value of an instrument from first principles and all available data. Instead, they implicitly assume that current prices accurately reflect all information except their news.

It’s difficult trying to day trade or swing trade around the drastic changes in stock prices that are triggered from a single headline.

Many algorithms are programmed as news traders, which read news headlines or tweets and have some pre-programmed objective-based method of interpreting the sentiment of those headlines.

Algorithmic trading has been of much chagrin of people in Wall Street such as Jim Cramer. Earlier this fall, Cramer said the following about machine trading

Cramer blamed the errant jumps in the transport stocks on machine trading, calling the buying “robotic.”

“Real human buyers wouldn’t pay up eight points for FedEx on no news, unless they think there’s going to be some sort of takeover, which there probably isn’t. Real buyers work an order. They wait for sellers to come to them,” he said. “Instead, these machine buyers they blitzed all the sellers all the way up, and you have to believe they didn’t even attempt to try to get a good price for their customers.”

The dreary truth

We have to accept the fact that algorithmic trading is a part of the market as we know it.

As a day trader you will always at the mercy of algorithms suddenly going against your positions which makes day trading harder than it already is.

If you’re a swing trader, you can ride out the waves because news headline trading tends to smooth out over time (unless it’s something dramatic like a President Trump tweet tantrum).

So we must deal with it, must learn from it, and must learn how to trade with or around it. It’s up to you what you do.

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Author: Trader Court

CPA first, pivoted to python programmer focused on data science which I apply to my own stock and options trading.

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