Friday, July 24, 2009

Melisa Francis: CNBC Twit of the Day 7/24/09

Melissa Francis is my twit of the day for writing off the "high frequency trading" story, as some sort of liberal conspiracy. "High frequency trading" or HFT refers to computerized trading strategies that are automatically executed in order to make pennies or fractions of pennies. It is also known as "program trading." By some estimates, three quarters of stock trading volume on any given day are HFT strategies With the demise of its rivals, Goldman Sachs is the dominant player in the field. Bloggers like Zero Hedge have been focusing on the issue for months. I am not yet convinced that this is quite as big a problem a Zero Hedge thinks it is, but I think he is asking a lot of good questions that don't seem to be getting much in the way of answers. He does get a lot of name calling from CNBC including "idiot" from Charlie Gasparino and "dickweed" from Dennis Kneale.

Today, Francis tried to dismiss the story with "Whenever I see these 'high frequency trade" articles come out, all I think is that someone is calling these reporters and making sure that everyone is on this story because they are looking for more regulation of these markets." (3:30) In fact, the reporters are playing catch up with the bloggers who have been on this story for awhile. Francis and her fellow twits at CNBC have been trying to ignore it as it undercuts their ceaseless cheer leading for Wall Street. Other highlights from the segment include Larry Kudlow nodding at Francis' inanity while saying "Right, right," and lickspittle Rick Santelli calling Kudlow "a top economist.

Larry Kudlow almost got my nod for CNBC's biggest jerk for his blathering in the previous segment (2:05) about Microsoft’s “operating system losing market share big time.” When CNBC tech reporter Jim Goldman tried to correct him, Kudlow shouted “That is factually true, I’m sorry, that is factually true. First of all, how about Mozilla Firefox? . . . When the Justice Depart tried to break them up fifteen years ago, they had a 90% plus market share. That market share is down to 60%. That is a big swing factually.” In fact, Microsoft still controls 91% of the operating system market. It also controls 72% the browser market. It is not just that Kudlow doesn't know the difference between a browser and an operating system that bothers me. It's the fact that CNBC gives him free reign to shout whatever comes into his head regardless of the expertise of the person he is shouting over.


  1. I was perplexed by the other high frequency trading argument today to the point where I wasn't sure who was arguing which side, and couldn't understand why this is even remotely thought of as a good idea, though increasingly I wonder that about most of the financial engineering shenanigans. I like zerohedge (though do think he gets a little whiny when the market moves against him.) But so far you've basically hit for the cycle on this blog with your CNBC critiques imo. You've now called out my least favorite contributors (Francis, Kneale, Kudlow and Caruso-Cabrera.) All you need now is a Bob Passani is a wimpy dweeb post... I have to confess I still have a soft spot for Mark Haines (I notice he too once drew your ire,) he plays the old curmudgeon role quite well, and he did call out Rush Limbaugh...


    PS take a little time off from the blog to join I'm ready to take you on again!

  2. One of the things they are making a big deal about is "pinging" which strikes me as exactly what we did down in the pit. We would show a broker a small offer or we would bid the option up ourselves to see whether he had any discretion with the order. The point is to figure out the highest price the guy is willing to pay and then get him to pay it. That just seems like smart trading to me.

    I am not quite sure why you and Chris find Passani so irritating. I find him a useful source for "conventional wisdom."

    Next week, I will take you up on your challenge although I am quite rusty.