Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Distribution via amazon

It is a little premature for me to start mentioning it but the book Trading Pit Hand Signals will be available for distribution via amazon.com within a couple weeks hopefully.  Distribution is in the process of being switched up so while I think two weeks is optimistic, it's what I'm shooting for.  Dealing w/physical goods is much more complicated than slingin' futures electronically I've learned.

Previously it was my goal to keep the book distribution low key and not do the amazon listing but after various inquiries, particularly from those outside the US, it's time to have amazon handle everything.  The reason why non-US distribution wasn't available thus far is because it required quite a bit more work for the current distributor including a special trip to the post office, filling out customs forms, calculating shipping, etc....all which we agreed wasn't worth it early on.

Because it's going mainstream, the price will be bumped up a bit to like $40 vs. $30 now so if you want to save $10 go ahead and order it before it's shifted over. 

Here is the current place to order it: click here

Here is the eventual amazon page to order it: click here

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Changing Face of Commodity Trading....and a story

Thanks to a Canadian amigo of the blog for submitting the above 8 minute vid, recently created by Iowa Public Television.  The video contains some good vintage footage of the CBOT grain pits, a short look at the initial Globex GUI and also some very current footage of the CBOT floor. 

A brief story I'd like to share as well....last week on a short trip through Chicago I went w/an options trader who I spent a year working for in 98/99 to the Blackhawks game.  Post game we went to my local while in town, The Gage, and while eating poutine (the Hawks did play Montreal so was appropriate) and having beers, the guy who gave me my first job in the futures industry back in 98 came by to say hello to both of us as he was in town on business and happened to be having beers at the same place.  That encounter, combined w/a string of emails today w/the guys who originally backed me to start out trading, makes me feel so BLESSED!  To have been mentored under such a great group of high integrity guys, who themselves continue to do good things in the industry, is very unique and my enthusiasm for capturing the history reflects upon the fortunate path I've been blessed with.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Saturday morning outtrade session

The above photo is from a Saturday morning outtrade session which was called due to extraordinary trading circumstances on the prior Friday.  I've written about the outtrade process previously so won't rehash it, but clearly this goes to show how much smoother electronic trading has made the audit trail along w/eliminating outtrade risk now. 

What lead to traders giving up their Saturday morning to make sure trades balanced?  The prior day was February 4, 1994 and any fixed income trading veteran has plenty of memories of that day as the Fed raised rates unexpectedly for the first rate hike in 5 years.  Eurodollar volumes did 1.4 million contracts that day which was about 3X the recent daily average, but now is on the low side of volume for the same contract.  S&Ps traded 'only' one hundred thousand contracts which really shows how times have changed!  At the time, the multiplier on the S&P contract was $500, the minimum tick was 0.05, the contract level was around 480 and this was clearly years before the emini launch. 

LIFFE promotional video from mid 1990s

This mid 90s LIFFE promotional video of the Cannon Bridge trading floor is definitely worth a watch.  The video is six minutes long and appears to only be on facebook but a facebook account isn't necessary to view it as I don't have one myself.  Click here for the link.  There's a lot of interesting aspects to the vid and one in particular I'd like to point out starting at 3:38 is the GUI for the APT system, it's always funny to see old technology.  Hat tip to long time LIFFE trader Spencer Campbell for pointing it out to me.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Trading pit of the future

This blog deals with trading pit history but I have to post on an exception now that I've seen trading pit futureTrading Technologies has announced the creation of a Oculus stylized VR headset that will create an infinitely massive virtual trading pit which would allow a human to trade with the technological speed of an integrated circuit but implement trades via the natural human function of open outcry trading. 

I'm still a simple guy originally from Topeka, but this combination of high frequency trading and open outcry functionality brings us closer to the brink of the singularity than anything else I've previously seen.  However, it won't accurately combine the trading pits of the past unless the virtual pit is filled with thick-necked brokers named Rocco or Lou who wear open collar shirts displaying a big gold chain. (Edit: for those who see this in the future please note it was posted on April Fool's Day)

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