Monday, September 13, 2010

Playing hooky at work...

I've lamented for the past few years the casino-like atmosphere around the stock market. Way, way back in 2006 you could analyze a company, it's competitors, it's products, it's industry and develop an idea about where the stock might be headed over the next 12 months.

Today, you only need to play for an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. As evidence of that consider the case of these traders that literally take the middle of every day off.

"On the day the “flash crash” bludgeoned the stock market and chaos swept over the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, the founders of Briargate Trading were at the movies.

Rick Oscher and Steven Rubinstein weren’t playing hooky. Briargate, a proprietary-trading firm that the two former NYSE floor “specialist” traders started in 2008, is mostly active at the stock market’s open and close.

In between, when market activity typically drops, the Wall Street veterans play tennis in Central Park, take leisurely lunches, visit their children’s schools and work out at the gym. Dress shoes have been replaced with flip-flops, slacks with cargo shorts. Once during market hours, they walked about five miles and crossed the Brooklyn Bridge to try Grimaldi’s pizza.

“We actually planned on working a full day,” says Mr. Oscher, wearing a white polo shirt and blue-plaid shorts. “But from 11 to 2, the markets are pretty quiet—what’s the point?"

Trading has become increasingly concentrated in the first and last hours of the session.
Those two hours now make up more than half of the entire day’s trading volume, according to an analysis of data provided by Thomson Reuters. In August, the first and last hour generated nearly 58% of New York Stock Exchange primary volume."

Is it any wonder that our best and brightest have been flocking to Wall Street over the past few years? Work a little, get paid a lot and wear flip-flops. Welcome to the Facebook Economy.


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