Jump Trading

A Brawl Breaks Out in the Futures Market – Part 2

"You can't connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future." - Steve Jobs   It's truly amazing what we find deep down in the weeds... The solution to any puzzle starts with the pieces that are easiest to fit into place. Translation: Solutions can start most easily where the most granular data is readily available and easiest to interpret. In this case, and though not (yet) flowing smoothly from a firehose, that means regulatory disclosures based on long positions reported by various trading and asset management firms that correspond with the quarterly-updated 13F securities list managed by the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC). At Alphacution, the core mission is to solve, and keep re-solving, a very large puzzle made up of many other smaller puzzles which, themselves, may contain even smaller, more detailed puzzles... Think of this like the claim made by the Kirk Lazarus character in the movie, Tropic Thunder - [...]

By |2020-10-14T22:40:14-04:00October 11th, 2019|For Subscribers|

DRW, Jump: A Brawl Breaks Out in the Futures Market

“All profound distraction opens certain doors. You have to allow yourself to be distracted when you are unable to concentrate.” - Julio Cortázar Sometimes we are working one research project, get a call and then need to go chase a squirrel that is part of a different research project. This is one of those squirrels... And as such, it's a chart that causes a reaction - but, we're not ready to say precisely what our reaction is (title and title image to this post notwithstanding), nor what that might mean. So - like many teasers - we're going to drop it here for now, and then follow up later, except for this: Significant growth in assets is not necessarily indicative of a corresponding increase in profitability, but there may be advantages as a result of scale. Let's see if we can make a stronger case, one way or another, and then come back with that... BTW, the dotted lines signify missing reports...

By |2020-10-14T22:46:50-04:00October 2nd, 2019|For Subscribers|

Goldman Sachs and the Long Arc of Hull Trading

"And the men who hold high places - should be the ones who start - to mold a new reality - closer to the heart." - Rush, "Farewell to Kings" Strap yourself in for this one, as we take a fascinating and detailed walk through some of Alphacution's recent modeling on one of the long-standing Kings of Wall Street; a story that is on the one hand, not widely known and on the other, not typically spoken of... It was among the most exciting one-two punches of financial markets deals from the late 1990's and very early 2000's; one where Wall Street - much like other financial centers across Europe had done in prior years - had reached out, once again, to LaSalle Street for their unique prowess in derivatives trading. (Alphacution detailed the roster of leading players who were part of this wave of acquisitions in a Feed post focused on Susquehanna International Group - SIG.) In this case, the mighty Goldman Sachs had reached out to acquire Blair [...]

By |2020-10-14T22:45:13-04:00September 26th, 2019|For Subscribers|

Virtu Financial: More Acquisitions on the Way, If…

When we launched our first trading program at Quantlab in the late 90's, we didn't have direct market access yet. We generated an order list (overnight) that was worked throughout the subsequent market session at the discretion of an algo-equipped executing broker; some of whom now roam the halls at Jefferies / Leucadia. This was the era when 1- to 3-day portfolio turnover was considered fast - SOES bandits were still a thing - and Schwab would soon acquire electronic trading pioneer, CyBerCorp, from Philip Berber - a short drive down the road from our Houston headquarters in Austin, TX. Of course, everyone had nicknames then - as I suspect they still do now. Ed Bosarge, founder of what eventually became Quantlab (after at least 3 prior related incarnations that began for me around 1996), was known as Dr. Evil. Let's just say it's a hair-raising story about a swashbuckling pioneer of applied math involving a hideous toupee... I was known as Mr. Bigglesworth - or, "Bigsy" for short. No [...]

By |2020-10-05T21:19:11-04:00March 27th, 2018|Open|

@VirtuFinancial: Valor #HFT Morghulis

If you read Part 1 to this post (from December 15, 2016) then you know that at least as of the end of 2015, financial reports from HFT bellwether Virtu Financial illustrated strong and even increasing profitability. Our surprise from these impressive figures came from the countervailing hypothesis that HFT was already well past its prime (given the evidence of prop shop closings and consolidations over the past 5 years or so). Apparently, Virtu didn’t get that memo. However, upon closer inspection of the most recent quarterly reports – which as of now yields details over 11 quarters starting in calendar Q1 2014 (March) and ending in calendar Q3 2016 (September) – even this bellwether may have seen its best days. Exhibit 1 (below) is one perspective of what this recent turn of fortune looks like: Some translation: After spiking in Q4-2014 and peaking in Q1-2015 at an annualized (adjusted net trading) revenue per employee (RPE) of over $4.1 million, trading revenue as of the end of Q3-2016 has returned to somewhat less [...]

By |2020-08-17T07:14:09-04:00January 12th, 2017|For Subscribers|