The Ultimate in High-Frequency Trading
|May 9th, 2012 | Filed under: Algorithmic and high-frequency trading, Alpha Strategies, Today's Post | By: cfaille||
Consider that this summer ice-breaking and cable-laying ships are scheduled to create the first-ever fiber optic cables through the Arctic Ocean. There are supposed to be three such cables when the planned work is done: two on the Canadian and one on the Russian side of the pole.
Each of these cables will connect Tokyo with London, and they are expected to shave 60 milliseconds off the time it takes for data to get from one of those cities to the other.
My first thought in this connection was about news. If there is a cabinet shake-up in Tokyo, or scientists there make some wonderful pharmacological break-through, traders and investors in London who have access to these cable transmissions will have the information a tiny bit more rapidly than will those who rely upon old-fashioned transmissions through the temperate zone.
But that just proves that I’m an old-fashioned stick-in-the-mud. Should there be a cabinet shake-up in Tokyo, the people who want to trade in London in some way that takes advantage of this will have to stop and give the implications some thought, and that fatal delay will dwarf any velocity gained from the new cable’s polar route. Even if we allow that sometimes algorithms go qualitative, the general point holds: the trading gains here don’t arise from the transmission of news.
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Christopher Faille is a Jamesian pragmatist. William James has taught him, for example, that "you can say of a line that it runs east, or you can say that it runs west, and the line per se accepts both descriptions without rebelling at the inconsistency."