If trading is profitable, who loses money

ambition56's picture
Rank: Gorilla | 728

If surviving BB trading arms are profitable, and assuming that trading is a zero sum game, who are the losers at the other end? If banks like GS and BofA can have perfect trading quarters, who are the losers at the other end? Or am I wrong, is trading not a zero sum game... and if it's not to what extent can money be squeezed out of the markets

Comments (95)

Dec 10, 2010

Trading equities and some other instruments aren't zero sum, FOREX is worse than zero sum as it's you win, I lose plus fees so it winds up being a less than zero sum game.

Dec 10, 2010

Ah,that's the nice thing about market-making. In theory, everyone can walk away a winner.

Stock returns tend to track economic growth + economic rents. So the guy who's selling to the market maker might have just made $5 holding the stock for a couple years. The market maker makes 3 cents on the bid-ask spread, and the guy who buys from the market-maker makes another $5 holding the stock for a few more years.

Dec 10, 2010

Also, don't forget the fact that people take the lose to hedge the risk. Airlines are long jet fuel to hedge their costs, but if it falls they lose money on the contract but they technically "win" because they can more accurately predict cash inflows and out flows.

Dec 10, 2010
Gekko21:

Also, don't forget the fact that people take the lose to hedge the risk. Airlines are long jet fuel to hedge their costs, but if it falls they lose money on the contract but they technically "win" because they can more accurately predict cash inflows and out flows.

I like how you describe hedging the way it was intended to be done as a novel concept. It made me giggle.

Dec 10, 2010

Plus European pension funds just lose. Or at least they used to.

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Dec 13, 2010
2x2Matrix:

Plus European pension funds just lose. Or at least they used to.

bahaha...

Earn it.

Dec 10, 2010

but hedging is like 10% of the market or less.... it's all specutlation so I don't get how these BB trading arms can keep posting profits quarter after quarter year after year... is it just because the dow/sp500 generally has been going up since inception?
It just seems like trading is profitable because people are trading. once people stop everything falls apart(ponzi scheme)
I'd like to figure this out before I start an internship/job/career in trading

Dec 10, 2010
ambition56:

but hedging is like 10% of the market or less.... it's all specutlation so I don't get how these BB trading arms can keep posting profits quarter after quarter year after year... is it just because the dow/sp500 generally has been going up since inception?
It just seems like trading is profitable because people are trading. once people stop everything falls apart(ponzi scheme)
I'd like to figure this out before I start an internship/job/career in trading

lol most sizable, profitable, and successful 'trading' operations are market-makers (liquidity providers) who are collecting the spread and edge from people having to pay up or sell down. Owning the underlying in many of these markets is also not a zero-sum game.... and active/frequent trading (versus investing) generally has a positive expected value if you are somehow collecting edge.... as is the case with market-makers/liquidity providers, which is the role most of the BBs and prop shops.

The people on the other side are many and not all are in it to simply buy low / sell high w/ the underlying. Hedging makes up a massive portion of all options and futures trading (people buying risk reversals on their long stock, buying calls in the grains, etc.). I think you are quite underestimating its role in the market.

Apr 24, 2013

[x]

Dec 10, 2010

Now-a-days, the losers are the average joe opening up a scottrade account thinking they can do better than a certified broker or trader.

Dec 10, 2010

ambition - the markets are very much a ponzi scheme because if everyone wanted to get out they would drive prices down. A lot of it comes down to understand the theory behind an unrealized gain. Take for example the public who start the year at 100 and by the end of the year its worth 125. Everyone is marked as +25 in unrealized gains. This is the same way for institutions also. The problem with this mark of 125 is you have UNREALIZED GAINS. If everyone decided ok its time to cash in because we anticipate it will drive prices down. Selling breeds more selling among people, then the market fundamentals change well after prices have fell and that causes more selling. More selling leads to panic and once the last idiot is done panicing that is the bottom of the market. People wonder where there 125 went and now its back at 105.

While banks are making money on making markets, prop traders/independent traders by speculating, hedge funds in everything someone DOES have to lose and in non physical markets those losers are the little guy.

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

Dec 10, 2010
trade4size:

ambition - the markets are very much a ponzi scheme because if everyone wanted to get out they would drive prices down. A lot of it comes down to understand the theory behind an unrealized gain. Take for example the public who start the year at 100 and by the end of the year its worth 125. Everyone is marked as +25 in unrealized gains. This is the same way for institutions also. The problem with this mark of 125 is you have UNREALIZED GAINS. If everyone decided ok its time to cash in because we anticipate it will drive prices down. Selling breeds more selling among people, then the market fundamentals change well after prices have fell and that causes more selling. More selling leads to panic and once the last idiot is done panicing that is the bottom of the market. People wonder where there 125 went and now its back at 105.

While banks are making money on making markets, prop traders/independent traders by speculating, hedge funds in everything someone DOES have to lose and in non physical markets those losers are the little guy.

lol you're fucking retarded

Dec 10, 2010

because i gave a realistic answer that a 12 year old can understand and didnt use math equations. The markets are a fucking ponzi scheme because everyone gets the same mark however that mark doesnt translate into liquid cash its just what the current value of a said asset is.

The last part was about showing how the little man gets fucked in a market cycle illustrating how the big players can all be winners while the average investor fronts the bill in effect paying the institutional traders salary.

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

Dec 10, 2010
trade4size:

because i gave a realistic answer that a 12 year old can understand and didnt use math equations. The markets are a fucking ponzi scheme because everyone gets the same mark however that mark doesnt translate into liquid cash its just what the current value of a said asset is.

The last part was about showing how the little man gets fucked in a market cycle illustrating how the big players can all be winners while the average investor fronts the bill in effect paying the institutional traders salary.

much of what you have said is factually incorrect. I'll leave it at that. it is just silly.

Dec 10, 2010
Jerome Marrow:
trade4size:

because i gave a realistic answer that a 12 year old can understand and didnt use math equations. The markets are a fucking ponzi scheme because everyone gets the same mark however that mark doesnt translate into liquid cash its just what the current value of a said asset is.

The last part was about showing how the little man gets fucked in a market cycle illustrating how the big players can all be winners while the average investor fronts the bill in effect paying the institutional traders salary.

much of what you have said is factually incorrect. I'll leave it at that. it is just silly.

EDIT: Thanks for elaborating.

Dec 10, 2010

Jerome your posts has just as much of a bias towards your product as mine does. Futures and options are 100% a zero sum game and you think they arent you should not be trading.

and please if your going to call me out atleast point out where i am wrong.

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

Dec 10, 2010

You are assuming that the only utility of something like an option is for it to make a large sum of money when, in fact, it can simply be used as a tool to mitigate risk, which in itself has utility and has a value on its own. The same can be said for hedging activities of large organizations (essentially another form of risk management). Yes, someone buying risk reversals on their stock may have a net debit and always have their options expire worthless, whereby the person taking the other side is net collecting premium; however, that does not mean that the purchaser received nothing with their purchase as they limited their capital exposure (potentially allowing for alternative use), locked in their volatility exposure, etc.

And I am quite confused how futures is a 0 sum game... I'd love to hear that one. There are plenty of people/groups who will buy or sell futures with the intention on taking or making delivery of the good at that price.... It isn't just some computer game or shouting match @ the Merc--there are real companies that trade futures with the intention on taking delivery on many of those products to actually use or hold the underlying.

Dec 10, 2010

So essentially Jerome you're agreeing with trade4size that it's a zero sum game from an accounting perspective. Glad to see you've (finally) seen the light.

Dec 10, 2010

If you are only looking at it from an accounting standpoint, then you're a fucking moron. That's like downgrading the value of health insurance as it too is a 'zero-sum game' from an accounting perspective on an individual basis, which misses the whole point.

And that would only hold true for vanilla options, anyway.

Dec 10, 2010
Jerome Marrow:

If you are only looking at it from an accounting standpoint, then you're a fucking moron. That's like downgrading the value of health insurance as it too is a 'zero-sum game' from an accounting perspective on an individual basis, which misses the whole point.

And that would only hold true for vanilla options, anyway.

More foolishness from Jerome. Bottom line is that accounting is very applicable here. In order for a trader to make money by essentially any measure, someone else has to lose money on an accounting basis.

Also, options are typically a negative sum game for the folks buying them.

Dec 10, 2010
IlliniProgrammer:
Jerome Marrow:

If you are only looking at it from an accounting standpoint, then you're a fucking moron. That's like downgrading the value of health insurance as it too is a 'zero-sum game' from an accounting perspective on an individual basis, which misses the whole point.

And that would only hold true for vanilla options, anyway.

More foolishness from Jerome. Bottom line is that accounting is very applicable here. In order for a trader to make money by essentially any measure, someone else has to lose money on an accounting basis.

Also, options are typically a negative sum game for the folks buying them.

It isn't very applicable because, in many cases, they allow for additional capital expenditure elsewhere since risk on that particular asset/underlying is capped (which is what most people are trading options for to begin with--protection or as a way to exit a position), which has a value that can greatly exceed the value of any particular option. Your perspective is limited and detrimental for understanding the issue.

Dec 10, 2010

Jerome is right...much of what trade4size said was factually incorrect

Though it is true that there are some sketchy practices and the retail guy and the stupid institutionals (i.e. pension plans) tend to be the worst performers over the long-run (it's usually because of their own stupidity though)

On a purely abstract basis, any market whose expected return is positive (i.e. equities, bonds), will be a non zero sum game...the second post does a good job illustrating how this works...feel free to do deeper due diligence on the subject

Some markets are zero sum games (some derivatives - hesitant to say all as there is almost certainly an example of one that isn't), others aren't (equities)

Dec 10, 2010

First of all having utility by managing risk is not cash flow. Second when you are hedging something you are in effect giving up edge by gaining some sort of certainty.

Producers that do intend to take delivery/ give delivery can be net losers in the market but still come out with an economic profit on the transaction.

If you are able to produce oil for $40 a barrel but sell it for $90 a barrel you can be the worst trader in the oil market you really dont care that much about the pennies in a trade. They are willing to give up a little in getting the best prices in exchange for getting the order done.

If you are producer and hedging at $90 selling on the bid and prices continue rising you are SHORT FROM $90 and depsite the fact your making a good return on the final product (consumers at the pump) you are a loser in the market. That doesnt mean your economically a loser however.

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

Dec 10, 2010
trade4size:

First of all having utility by managing risk is not cash flow. Second when you are hedging something you are in effect giving up edge by gaining some sort of certainty.

It actually is greatly related to cash flow as limiting your capital exposure in hedging activities can allow for expenditures elsewhere to generate greater returns on capital. I'm quite surprised you don't understand this as somebody 'trading size' would know this.

Producers that do intend to take delivery/ give delivery can be net losers in the market but still come out with an economic profit on the transaction.

If you are able to produce oil for $40 a barrel but sell it for $90 a barrel you can be the worst trader in the oil market you really dont care that much about the pennies in a trade. They are willing to give up a little in getting the best prices in exchange for getting the order done.

If you are producer and hedging at $90 selling on the bid and prices continue rising you are SHORT FROM $90 and depsite the fact your making a good return on the final product (consumers at the pump) you are a loser in the market. That doesnt mean your economically a loser however.

If you are judging what a net winner/loser in the market is by who top tick or bottom ticks, then you have a pretty narrow/shitty perspective. Even your example doesn't make a lot of sense because said producer's goal is to sell their inventory at the best price they can (obviously a function of supply/demand). If they want to get size done quickly, it will obviously not all be done at the top tick price because there simply isn't enough demand to withstand that kind of supply at that point in time. If they rise later, that doesn't make their 'trade' (more like a divestment) bad--their trade was under a different context than trades that happen in the future, at different times and under a different context. I don't see how this is a complicated topic for you to understand.

Dec 10, 2010

Equities from a trading perspective are a zero sum game, in the long run they arent but absolutely in the short run.

Im still waiting for how I am factually incorrect.

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

Dec 10, 2010

The futures market is actually the only true zero sum market. You can not have a buyer with out a seller. To what extent can $$$ be squeezed out in non zero sum markets you say? Creat your own investment package IE Goldman's credit swaps. Or be a market maker. But I'm bias because I'm a futures trader. To me that other shit is watered down.

Dec 10, 2010
Bravo:

The futures market is actually the only true zero sum market. You can not have a buyer with out a seller. To what extent can $$$ be squeezed out in non zero sum markets you say? Creat your own investment package IE Goldman's credit swaps. Or be a market maker. But I'm bias because I'm a futures trader. To me that other shit is watered down.

durrrrr you can't have a buyer without a seller in any market. I guess those who go to Best Buy and get a plasma TV are the losers on that trade since they're long TVs/short cash? Seriously, such statements are silly. If you only view these markets as places where people try to speculate on prices going up or down, with one side being right and the other being wrong, then you don't really understand what the market is for to begin with.

Dec 11, 2010
Jerome Marrow:
Bravo:

The futures market is actually the only true zero sum market. You can not have a buyer with out a seller. To what extent can $$$ be squeezed out in non zero sum markets you say? Creat your own investment package IE Goldman's credit swaps. Or be a market maker. But I'm bias because I'm a futures trader. To me that other shit is watered down.

durrrrr you can't have a buyer without a seller in any market. I guess those who go to Best Buy and get a plasma TV are the losers on that trade since they're long TVs/short cash? Seriously, such statements are silly. If you only view these markets as places where people try to speculate on prices going up or down, with one side being right and the other being wrong, then you don't really understand what the market is for to begin with.

The fact that you used "Best Buy" as your example clearly shows that the extent of your knowledge doesn't stretch beyond the realm of NYSE. In your scenario the participent's(Tv buyer) gains and losses are not equal nor is it balanced buy the gains and losses of the other participents(Best buy & Tv maker) hence it is not a strictly competive market or zero sum game. In your example there will ALWAYS be a + or - afterwards. If you track volume in the futures market for evey contract bought one is sold so the sum eqauls zero. That is not so with equites shares can still be withstanding on the open market.

Dude watched "Wall Street" heard Gordon Gekko reference zero sum now he thinks he is a trader. When did you graduate and start making money in the markets, last summer moron?

Dec 10, 2010

Here a great example

The US Government values it gold on its balance sheet at like $42/oz. We own something like 150 million onces. If the US Government were to come up with the idea "lets sell gold to help fund something" they would drive the price down several hundred dollars. Everyone is using the same mark but that mark is meaningless, all marks are meaningless until you sell.

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

Dec 10, 2010

welcome to the discussion bravo always nice to get the long time lurkers involved. Context does not matter when we are talking about a zero sum game. The funny part is we are just arguing about semantics here really.

Just so the OP realizes the losers are the average investor I think we all agree on that. I couldnt care less about if the market is a zero sum game or not this is the type question academics like to talk about so ok you win trade4size is an idiot and I should just go work at mcdonalds because i could never be a trader because I dont understand that some markets are zero sum but others arent.

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

Dec 10, 2010

Jerome it would help you understood the DEFINITION of a zero sum game. You are morphing its definition into something to fit your own context thats not how it works dude. You cant manipulate its definition to meet your own special criteria.

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

Dec 10, 2010

some 1 bring up nash equilibrium

Dec 10, 2010

I understand completely what a zero-sum game is. Shit, great example:

Say it is pre-2010 and I'm some old sack of shit that is looking for some consistent dividend yielding stock. I decide to buy some BP and buy RRs on it to keep myself secure. With that, I can safely invest more capital in BP stock than I otherwise would be able to and receiving greater dividend payouts (something not possible if I had not been able to limit risk via options). I pay out some premium at given intervals that is more than covered by the dividend yield. April 2010 comes around, BP starts to tank and I don't have to worry about picking a stop loss or anything like that as I am protected via the RRs that I bought on the stock. My losses were limited, I was able to invest a greater amount of my capital into a high yielding stock because of it, and the premium I paid was covered by the excess cash received from dividend yield.

Dec 10, 2010

jerome mentioned buying RR's on BP for protection can some 1 tell me what those r can't find em on google

Dec 10, 2010
blastoise:

jerome mentioned buying RR's on BP for protection can some 1 tell me what those r can't find em on google

finance.google.com
LON:RR

Snootchie Bootchies

Dec 10, 2010

Rolls-Royce Group plc (Public, LON:RR) .....

Dec 10, 2010

"decide to buy some BP and buy RRs on it to keep myself secure. " wtf are u talkin about zee4 it isn't the same as he is lol

Dec 10, 2010

It means Risk Reversal

Long Risk reversals your long a put at a lower strike and short a call with a strike above. Gives downside protection limits your upside but is cheaper than buying a put protection outright.

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

Dec 10, 2010

Jerome UTLITY DOES NOT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH A GAME BEING ZERO SUM OR NOT!

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

Dec 10, 2010
trade4size:

Jerome UTLITY DOES NOT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH A GAME BEING ZERO SUM OR NOT!

Yes, it absolutely does, especially from an economics perspective.

Dec 10, 2010

He's referring to buying puts and selling calls. It's a frigging retail strategy where Jerome pays a premium for the put relative to the call.

Dec 10, 2010

RR = Risk reversal

long put, short call, long stock

To say that it is a retail strategy is absurd and really makes you look silly. Some of the largest, most profound funds trade those size on their positions every single day. It is a very easy and logical way to mitigate some risk factors.

Dec 10, 2010

Dude, it's called skew. Google it. This is an inherently risk-averse strategy.

Dec 10, 2010
IlliniProgrammer:

Dude, it's called skew. Google it.

lmao how many times are you going to edit your post after trying to google what a risk reversal is and failing miserably? Put/call parity arbitrage? Cmon son..... get the fuck out of this thread and never post again after posting some stupid shit like that.

Dec 10, 2010

Jerome for the record what type options do you make markets in.

I wouldnt call Risk reversals a retail strategy. Our clients do them a lot, desk im on does not make markets in options just execution broker on large orders that take time to break up so in no means am i claiming to be an expert in options.

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

Dec 10, 2010

Are you drunk? Never heard someone use the word RR to describe anything besides registered rep. You're buying optionality at a lower strike and selling it at a higher strike and losing on the skew.

Dec 10, 2010
IlliniProgrammer:

How many times did you edit your post? I've never heard someone use the word RR to describe anything besides registered rep. You're buying optionality at a lower strike and selling it at a higher strike.

I'm going to bed. I hope everybody here has a nice laugh @ these posts from IP in the morning. Never heard of a risk reversal.... a retail strategy.... lol JFC dude

Dec 10, 2010

Jerome... this thread was not about having an economics perspective... it was about how the various institutional players are all able to be winners and who the losers were. From the context of the op the hedgers are helping give the option market makers edge. In this example the hedgers are the losers.

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

Dec 10, 2010

Thanks Jerome. Hope you're sober when you wake up.

Dec 10, 2010

Illini I think the trader told Jerome what a RR was today... then he went and got his coffee for him... Yet another wso kid that thinks they know everything and in an attempt to insult someone ended up making an ass out of themselves.

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

Dec 10, 2010

I'm just going to point a few things out here...

1) To the OP, the reason why you have these "Perfect" trading quarters has to do with Prop Traders at these big banks taking the opposite side of the trade versus their clients. When the client suffers, they benefit. It is in the best interest of these banks to be on the opposite side of the trade and subtly manipulate the market in other areas to bend to their will. A huge trade in the E-Minis or Options markets will shift the equity position to the benefit of the prop desk. Take Goldman, for example. While I don't remember where I read this interesting statistic, but last year, if I recall correctly more than 66% of the trades that Goldman recommended caused their clients to lose money on the trade, not including fees. One of the biggest influences on these trades was the fact that Goldman's prop desk would be on the other side of the trade, and unless the entire market went against them, they would win, creating this illusion of a perfect trading quarter.

2) I'm going to point out that there is a transaction cost to all things. Doesn't matter who you are, you are paying on both sides of the trade to play in the markets. And before anyone says that market makers don't pay, go piss off. To all you market makers, sod off and go bask in the wonderment of your liquidity providing tax benefits to increase your overall take. When you get tax benefits on top of profits, it looks like the tax payers lose. Ergo... Zero Sum game to the detriment of the tax payers, so suck it.

3) Accounting is the essence of everything. Enough said.

4) If you're going to make a comment Jerome, and accuse someone of being wrong. Go ahead and back it up with a substantive statement of fact in language that everyone can understand. Leaving us with a simple "You're wrong, piss off" doesn't really make us find your responses to be even worth reading. You're blatant bias is rather annoying... start talking without the underlying self-serving bias you use and maybe you'll actually make points that are valid.

Dec 11, 2010
Frieds:

3) Accounting is the essence of everything. Enough said.

lol wut? Mathematics is the essence of everything.

I win here, I win there...

Dec 10, 2010

I had to work late.. sorry guys...im here...lets talk trading..... okay..fine....

on a side note.... is NYU a target? jk

Dec 11, 2010

frieds what tax benefits do market makers get?

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

Dec 11, 2010

t4s, I'm not sure if it's solely for the Secondary Liquidity Providers or applies to Direct Market Makers as well, but there is a taxable benefit to providing liquidity into the market. It's been a while since I've last researched the subject, so I'm a bit fuzzy on the matter. If I recall, this is not something that impacts the P&L for any trader, but is counted in the firm-wide accounting that occurs. The big things it that when you are supposedly providing significant liquidity as a market maker (particularly in the HFT, Algo and Prop space), you are taking advantage of what will become a sizable tax break to your bottom line.

Dec 11, 2010

I would be interested in more information on this.

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

Dec 11, 2010

Anyone else find it funny people are trying to use a situation described in economic theory (zero-sum game), but don't want to look at it from an economics perspective (which judges the result of said game on the utility/benefit gained/lost from each side)? It sure as shit didn't come from accounting.... The essence of everything? Lul wut? Come on kids... Act like you are educated for a second.

Do most people here speak English as their first language? I'm curious because T4S and Frieds had posts that were a bit difficult to decipher

Dec 11, 2010
Jerome Marrow:

Come on kids... Act like you are educated for a second.

.....

Jerome Marrow:

Lul wut?

Hmmmm....

Dec 11, 2010

You don't need to go into utility functions to justify that transactions which are zero sum games from an accounting perspective can have real economic benefit for both parties.

All we have to assume is that people want to deploy their capital in a way that maximize the long run growth rate (a pretty reasonable assumption, unless you are terminally ill...). Now lets say there are two scenarios, A and B, which are mutually exclusive. Furthermore, p(A)=p(B)=0.5.

For example, scenario A might be the market closes higher than it opens, B that it closes lower.

Now lets say we have two investors C and D both start out with $100 and own securities with the following returns:

A B

C .5 2

D 1.25 0.8

So both C and D have long run geometric returns of (.52)^(1/2)=(.81.25)^(1/2)=1. In other words, they aren't making anything. Now D agrees with C that:

In scenario A, D pays C 0.375, so both return .875
In scenario B, C pays D 0.6, so both return 1.4.

Now both have the same returns in both scenarios and long run growth rates of (.875*1.4)^(1/2)=1.107, or ~11% return per period, just by entering into an agreement that creates a more optimal portfolio.

Dec 11, 2010

why is everone bashing trade4size. He read all of the wiley finance books, didn't he. I think he knows what he is talking about ...

"Make 'Nanas, not war! "

Dec 11, 2010
Jerrey:

why is everone bashing trade4size. He read all of the wiley finance books, didn't he. I think he knows what he is talking about ...

Trade4size is not the guy....Trdae4Life is the tool who then changed his name to absinthe (I think)

Dec 11, 2010

Oh, sorry for that . :D

"Make 'Nanas, not war! "

Dec 11, 2010

absinthe is a multi account of trade4life.

Just for the record....

Thisdude=trade4life=absinthe=nownow. They are all the same person and none of them are me.

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

Dec 11, 2010

Again, Sorry. I kind of picked that up wrongfully . My dearest apologies to you Sir Trade5Size!

And to the question, zero-sumness really depends on how you define the market.
Two trading parties never play zero-sum as pointed out due to transaction costs.

If you take into account the third party, it is a zero-sum game by definition of the idea of value. Buy price - commission - sell price = 0 .

The creation of value and its destruction can't be put into that framework, however. At pointed out, if nothing changes but all of a sudden everyone is becoming scared and thinks of a company as being valueless, then the holder of the respective asset loses money, without anyone else making it.

You could claim that you could protect against this by having some security measure for it. But then you paid for it, and the amount of money you lose is really only the amount you paid for someone else (like with an option.)

So the non-zerosumness comes from the irrationality and the randomness it introduces. It creates value and destroys value .

Now if you consider that irrationality in the long run is self-destructive you would usually claim that asymptotically the markets are zero-sum. But at any point in time they are not. The asymptotics just tells you thatyou can behave as if it was. However, there is of course one tiny correction that you have to make, which is basically the bankruptcy risk. Since you can basically push the price by irrationality to an infinite positive limit, you cannot prevent it from eventually forcing a company into bankruptcy. Which is why the sum is probably less than zero even asymptotically.

You could of course in theory prevent that problem if you would introduce something like a legal status of a ghost-company, which allows a company to survive and continue operation in the case that its bankrupty is the cause of irrationality. But since you know that only ex post, this is practicalyl unfeasible.

So, I guess asymptotically the market is close to being zero-sum, but it isn't exactly...

Correct me if I am talking complete rubbish .

"Make 'Nanas, not war! "

Dec 11, 2010

Was using the destruction of value to represent who the losers end up being.

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

Dec 11, 2010

I'm pretty sure few people from this thread have taken an intro course in microeconomics. Value and utility extend beyond elementary monetary factors.

Dec 11, 2010
Jerome Marrow:

I'm pretty sure few people from this thread have taken an intro course in microeconomics. Value and utility extend beyond elementary monetary factors.

You are surely right. But that discussion would only make us all feel confused and we would get angry for no reason, wouldn't we. ...

Someone would throw in some pointless remarks on Marxism, someone might raise the issue whether neaderthals were not better off regardubg utility and happiness. Then someone believing in a modern way in Christian eschatology woud raise the point that value and utility was independent from individual viewpoints and that progress and the "real" value it creates is more important than the utility of low-minded human beings that are happy when they consume beer all day. He would claim that people need to be enlightened and trained toward higher goals, and we would argue about the first half of last century. About Tito, Mao, Confutius, Plato, Hegel, Heidegger and come straight back to whoever idiot you can name, and then everybody would become mad. Eventually we would all agree to disagree or appreciate that financial markets are good no matter what and that we are so proud to live in this century.

So we stay with financial calculus. :D

"Make 'Nanas, not war! "

Dec 11, 2010

I'm just trying to understand how trading can be consistently profitable at BBs even though from what I've read trading at HFs has been generally unable to beat the general market

Dec 11, 2010

Remember hedge funds operate under 2 and 20. Some places have different arrangements just so some jackass doesnt come behind me and say "well de shaw charges 3 and 30"

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

Dec 11, 2010

jerome get your fucking ugly face off your avatar

Best Response
Dec 12, 2010

Which one is Jerome?


Dec 13, 2010

I'm bumping this thread because it's probably the most entertaining/win thread you'll read all day.

Jerome, I'm still skeptical that you even make money in the markets..

"Salesmen and traders are wild, cunning, aboriginal creatures who advise money managers about deceiving their bosses and finding new strip bars; their favourite phrase is, "Fuck you." IBankers eat fruit. Salesmen and traders eat meat, preferably fried."

Dec 13, 2010

I'm new to trading, but Jerome's comments are consistent to what I'm leanring and being told on the job.

Much of the capital is under the auspices of vol traders who do not bet on a certain directional movement, but on the overall volatility. Companies/institutions pay a premium to mitigate volatility. A car manufacturer should only have to focus on its core business, building cars. Thus, they pay banks a premium to remove volatility brought on by "macro"events that are out of their control.

Bank Sales pitch strategies to hedge funds/pension funds/etc, who take a fee and then pass the risk to vol traders. These flow traders mitigate that risk, charging their clients a margin, and depending on the bank and trader, potentially creating additional profits for the bank along the way.

Thus, this notion of a zero sum game is flawed; it is clearly not that black and white. If a trader is long theta, and another is short theta; it doesn't mean one wins and the other loses. They both need a level of the specific greeks to satisfy their positions.

Dec 13, 2010

what exactly is a vol trader? from what I understand it's just an option trader right? Are they betting on directional movements or just volatility movements?

Dec 13, 2010
ambition56:

what exactly is a vol trader? from what I understand it's just an option trader right? Are they betting on directional movements or just volatility movements?

Option market-makers are trading volatility, which is why puts/calls are basically the same thing to a market-maker, but what matters is the volatility that is traded for a particular portion of the skew. Not all people that trade options are directly trading volatility, or at least, they are not trading options with the intention on trading volatility back and forth. Some may just be using them as leverage or as a way to hedge and underlying position or a million other things.

Dec 13, 2010

It totally makes no sense at all if you consider one product or trade .. I buy a stock, and sell it for more. So it's not a zero-sum game. Huh?

Same holds for two people.

I buy a stock, the other party gets the cash, and invests in bonds. We both make more money than we had in the first place, so it's zero-sum.... ?!

.... X)

If you consider theta-hedges or bets, you still have to look at all parties involved and it boils down to earlier arguments.

"Make 'Nanas, not war! "

Dec 13, 2010

You guys are basically arguing the same point. I don't understand what the fuss is about.

There is a "price" to risk. It doesn't show up on the balance sheet (or maybe it does? Not an accountant) so the hedgers are technically losing on their trades to mitigate risk. Market makers, being on the other side, make money by taking on risk. The goal for the market makers is to manage risk so that they are making money on the long run.

t4s and IP is right that hedgers do end up with negative cashflow in their trades in the long-run (zero-sum game in terms of accounting sense). Jerome is also right in that they will still continue to hedge (non zero-sum in terms of "utlity").

Dec 13, 2010

lawl @ the person who thought Jerrey's pic = me.

Theajushi is correct in his explanation that hopefully even the slowest people here can understand. All I have to say is that if you really are going to listen to somebody about trading that doesn't even understand what a risk reversal is or thinks that it is a retail strategy (probably why various papers do them size on their long stock positions).

And for the last time, utility =/= monetary outcome and as absinthe explained, it is far from a zero-sum market. Being unable to see beyond that is just baffling.

Dec 13, 2010

ew, that dinosaur was talking to me?

"Make 'Nanas, not war! "

Dec 14, 2010

I agree with trade4size, for once. Jerome, you're just making it too complex.

From an accounting perspective, lots of trading is zero-sum.

Who cares about your argument that trading creates value? Of course it does, otherwise it wouldn't exist! That doesn't mean that some people are not cash losers on average. And this is a view that academics hold as well, you're not on intellectual high ground here.

You were right though when saying hinting that utility is often used as the metric in game theory.

Dec 14, 2010
mxc:

I agree with trade4size, for once. Jerome, you're just making it too complex.

From an accounting perspective, lots of trading is zero-sum.

Who cares about your argument that trading creates value? Of course it does, otherwise it wouldn't exist! That doesn't mean that some people are not cash losers on average. And this is a view that academics hold as well, you're not on intellectual high ground here.

You were right though when saying hinting that utility is often used as the metric in game theory.

Hinting? Often? Utility IS how value is derived and how a game's 'sumness' is determined. Take an economics class, please. How much money is made is not by any means the qualifier for whether or not a game is zero-sum. And as explained, there most definitely can and often are monetary winners on both sides because of trades that allow for more efficient capital allocation that would not otherwise be possible without those trades. Not exactly difficult to understand.

Dec 17, 2010
Jerome Marrow:
mxc:

I agree with trade4size, for once. Jerome, you're just making it too complex.

From an accounting perspective, lots of trading is zero-sum.

Who cares about your argument that trading creates value? Of course it does, otherwise it wouldn't exist! That doesn't mean that some people are not cash losers on average. And this is a view that academics hold as well, you're not on intellectual high ground here.

You were right though when saying hinting that utility is often used as the metric in game theory.

Hinting? Often? Utility IS how value is derived and how a game's 'sumness' is determined. Take an economics class, please. How much money is made is not by any means the qualifier for whether or not a game is zero-sum. And as explained, there most definitely can and often are monetary winners on both sides because of trades that allow for more efficient capital allocation that would not otherwise be possible without those trades. Not exactly difficult to understand.

Value is derived out of utility? Duh, it really always depends on your definition.
I think without a series of papers and books, we cannot settle this argument.

"Make 'Nanas, not war! "

Dec 14, 2010

This smells a lot like of when maths teachers say "so take T to its maximum upper limited, infinity".

Technically, everyone can be up, someone could have sold something for more than they bought it for, and at that point in time it is worth what they paid for it, and they think it could go up even more.

Trading is zero sum if everyone sold their shares back to the company it came from, no new commodities were consumed and all future based products reached maturity and expired.

However since that isn't going to happen this side of an alien invasion, It isn't zero sum. As correctly pointed out, losing in the OP's definition is not making as much money as they could have. it's fairly close to a zero sum cash game, but that's not all that is out there having value.

Dec 15, 2010

I just want to ask a question of this thread. Are we assuming transitive quantifiable utility?

Because I'm pretty sure that's an economic convention and impossible.

Dec 15, 2010

ok ill end the argument
when i'm on the opposite side of the trade 90% you will b losing money

Dec 17, 2010

I know who loses money.

Me

"Make 'Nanas, not war! "

Dec 19, 2010
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"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

Dec 26, 2010