Wednesday, April 29, 2009

DNDN - Why did erroneous trades stand?

DNDN: The fact that NASDAQ did not cancel the erroneous trades that occurred yesterday is borderline criminal. The calculus on the part of the exchanges is simple: the exchanges would rather fight an arbitration with the individual that committed the keypunch error than the counterparties that benefitted even though the executions were clearly erroneous based on exchange rules (Note that the exchanges are constantly changing their definition of clearly erroneous executions in order to protect against litigation). More than 30 million dollars was transferred from the seller that committed the initial error (and, presumably, other sellers that got shook out due to stop loss orders or program trades) to the counterparties. The bottom line is traders should never expect the exchanges to bust, resolve, cancel or amend erroneous trades. You’re on your own. Although I did not get hurt or benefit from the DNDN situation, I have committed two keypunch errors in my career that lead to clearly erroneous transactions (and, cost several hundred thousand dollars). What did the exchange do? Nothing. They let the trades stand. The exchanges have a responsibility to maintain a fair and orderly market. Trading in DNDN shares between 1:25 and 1:27 was unfair and disorderly.

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