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Market manipulation

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Subject: Scalping (trading), Market microstructure, Penny stock, Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2013 February 12, List price
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Market manipulation

Market manipulation is a deliberate attempt to interfere with the free and fair operation of the market and create artificial, false or misleading appearances with respect to the price of, or market for, a security, commodity or currency. Market manipulation is prohibited in most countries, in particular, it is prohibited in the United States under Section 9(a)(2)[1] of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, in Australia under Section 1041A of the Corporations Act 2001, and in Israel under Section 54(a) of the securities act of 1968. The Act defines market manipulation as transactions which create an artificial price or maintain an artificial price for a tradeable security. Market manipulation is also prohibited for wholesale electricity markets under Section 222 of the Federal Power Act[2] and wholesale natural gas markets under Section 4A of the Natural Gas Act.[3]

Examples

  • Pools: "Agreements, often written, among a group of traders to delegate authority to a single manager to trade in a specific stock for a specific period of time and then to share in the resulting profits or losses."[4]
  • Churning: "When a trader places both buy and sell orders at about the same price. The increase in activity is intended to attract additional investors, and increase the price."
  • Stock Bashing: "This scheme is usually orchestrated by savvy online message board posters (a.k.a. "Bashers") who make up false and/or misleading information about the target company in an attempt to get shares for a cheaper price. This activity, in most cases, is conducted by posting libelous posts on multiple public forums. The perpetrators sometimes work directly for unscrupulous Investor Relations firms who have convertible notes that convert for more shares the lower the bid or ask price is; thus the lower these Bashers can drive a stock price down by trying to convince shareholders they have bought a worthless security, the more shares the Investor Relations firm receives as compensation. Immediately after the stock conversion is complete and shares are issued to the Investor Relations firm, consultant, attorney or similar party, the basher/s then become friends of the company and move quickly to ensure they profit on a classic Pump & Dump scheme to liquidate their ill gotten shares. (see P&D)"
  • Pump and dump: "This scheme is generally part of a more complex grand plan of market manipulation on the targeted security. The Perpetrators (Usually stock promoters) convince company affiliates and large position non-affiliates to release shares into a free trading status as "Payment" for services for promoting the security. Instead of putting out legitimate information about a company the promoter sends out bogus e-mails (the "Pump") to millions of unsophisticated investors (Sometimes called "Retail Investors") in an attempt to drive the price of the stock and volume to higher points. After they accomplish both, the promoter sells their shares (the "Dump") and the stock price falls like a stone, taking all the duped investors money with it."
  • Runs: "When a group of traders create activity or rumors in order to drive the price of a security up." An example is the Guinness share-trading fraud of the 1980s. In the US, this activity is usually referred to as painting the tape.[5] Runs may also occur when trader(s) are attempting to drive the price of a certain share down, although this is rare. (see Stock Bashing)"
  • Ramping (the market): "Actions designed to artificially raise the market price of listed securities and to give the impression of voluminous trading, in order to make a quick profit."[6]
  • Wash trade: "Selling and repurchasing the same or substantially the same security for the purpose of generating activity and increasing the price".
  • Bear raid: "Attempting to push the price of a stock down by heavy selling or short selling."[7]
  • Lure and Squeeze: The way it works is a company is very distressed on paper, with impossibly high debt and consistently high annual losses, but very few assets, making it look as if bankruptcy must be imminent. The stock price gradually falls as people new to the stock short it on the basis of the poor outlook for the company, until the number of shorted shares greatly exceeds the total number of shares that are not held by those aware of the lure and squeeze scheme (call them "people in the know"). In the meantime, people in the know increasingly purchase the stock as it drops to lower and lower prices. When the short interest has reached a maximum, the company announces it has made a deal with its creditors to settle its loans in exchange for shares of stock (or some similar kind of arrangement that leverages the stock price to benefit the company), knowing that those who have short positions will be squeezed as the price of the stock sky-rockets. Near its peak price, people in the know start to sell, and the price gradually falls back down again for the cycle to repeat.
  • Quote stuffing is a tactic employed by high-frequency traders that involves using specialized, high-bandwidth hardware to quickly enter and withdraw large quantities of orders in an attempt to flood the market, thereby gaining an advantage over slower market participants.[8]
  • Working Group on Financial Markets is an orchestrated mechanism that attempts to manipulate U.S. stock markets in the event of a market crash by using government funds to buy stocks, or other instruments such as stock index futures—acts which are forbidden by law. In August 2005, Sprott Asset Management released a report that argued that there is little doubt that the WGFM intervened to protect the stock market.

References

  1. ^ http://www.sec.gov/about/laws/sea34.pdf
  2. ^ 16 U.S.C. § 824v
  3. ^ 15 U.S.C § 717c-1
  4. ^ Mahoney, Paul G., 1999. The Stock Pools and the Securities Exchange Act. Journal of Financial Economics 51, 343-369.
  5. ^ Painting The Tape
  6. ^ Sanford: Overview
  7. ^ Bear Raid: Definition and Much More from Answers.com
  8. ^
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