Readers React: Blame hyper-fast trading algorithms for the latest stock market insanity
To the editor: I take exception to this wording: “But when the rally fizzled, investor confidence in stock prices quickly turned sour again.” (“Dow plunges 1,175 points as stocks fall, wiping out all of this year’s gains,” Feb. 5)
This makes it sound like actual investors or traders are making these decisions. They are not. The overwhelming majority of stock trades involve no humans at all. They are driven by algorithms and high-speed computer-trading programs. The average investor has no control and in fact is being beaten up by this technology.
Fifty years ago, the average stock was held for eight years. Today, it is several months.
To appreciate the absurdity of the fight for trading speed, consider this: In 2008, traders in Chicago, wanting a faster connection to those in New York, laid the straightest possible cable from Chicago to northern New Jersey, literally blasting through a mountain in the Alleghenies. The result of this $300-million project was an increase in trading speeds of three milliseconds.
The “Transformer” movies told us machines would take over the world. Who knew they would start with our 401(k) accounts?
Doug Jones, Los Feliz
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