Saturday, October 03, 2009

Information arbitrage?

Chicago PMI Stirs Market; Distribution Raises Fairness Issue
The latest Chicago PMI data took a big toll on U.S. financial markets early Wednesday - nearly three minutes before the numbers were officially released.

The results of the Chicago Business Barometer, more commonly referred to as PMI, are made available to paying customers, including journalists, at 9:42 a.m. ET on the last business day each month. News media outlets are prohibited from publishing the data until 9:45, while traders can act on the information immediately.

If you don't have a WSJ ticket to read the article, you may be able to access the MarketBeat blog which tipped the story.

The not-so-subtle management of markets
All things considered, Wall Street was taking the latest payroll figures in its stride on Friday. For both the Dow and the S&P 500 at the opening, cash markets were showing roughly half the losses predicted earlier by their respective futures.

There was a good reason for that: the payroll figures actually came out on Thursday.

It makes sense for the authorities to work at managing tricky news flow in this way, as long as they don’t start to think they can do it regularly or with any real precision.

And they’d better be subtle about it.

Of course, to suggest that someone from up-on-high tipped off Goldman Sachs would be absurd - and an insult to Mr Hatzius directly.

But, my word, you can see why the conspiracy theories fly…



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