Where’s The Volume?


No one can deny that equity markets have been unpredictable as of late, but those who have paid attention or trade in size have noticed one glaring detail: the volume has dried up.

Some like to blame the death of MF Global as a catalyst for weaker markets. People are spooked and the situation in Europe has forced some traders to curtail risk and sit on the sidelines as they wait for a more stable pattern to emerge in the market.

“The markets have been rather quiet the past two weeks as traders are patiently waiting for Europe to either blow up or resolve. As traders wait, volumes wane and liquidity dry’s up across all products,” noted one Chicago-based proprietary trader.

“Consider that the MF global blow up has indeed removed many participants from the futures markets despite what you hear in the mainstream media,” he continued. “These two issues have compounded creating a risky environment to trade because any whale who steps into this market can move it very quickly and violently.”

Other traders say that the meltdown of MF Global and the debt crisis in Europe are nothing but poppycock. There are other factors in play that traders need to consider.

“Seasonality factors are going to come into play regarding volume drying up into the holiday season,” noted one New York-based proprietary trader. “Major players have also gotten spanked with the choppy markets. Some pressures that could excite things are a last ditch attempt to make their year positive. The idea is that we’ve digested the serious news out of Europe and we are now climbing the wall of worry.”

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