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Brokers with hands on their faces
August 10, 2011 7:54 PM   Subscribe

Brokers (or traders?) with hands on their faces - blog (updated)
posted by Surfin' Bird (45 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Doesn't this need a "fuckyeah" in front of it...
posted by tomswift at 7:56 PM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Isn't there a stock (ha!) photo category for this?
posted by vidur at 7:58 PM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Related AskMe
posted by troll at 8:01 PM on August 10, 2011


doin the Wall Street Shuffle
posted by philip-random at 8:05 PM on August 10, 2011


Maybe a "fuckno"
posted by kersplunk at 8:08 PM on August 10, 2011


I don't know why I enjoyed that so much, but I did.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:08 PM on August 10, 2011


Gene Burnett - Jump You F*#kers (A Song For Wall Street)
posted by 445supermag at 8:09 PM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is there a blog with the photos which accompany local interest stories where the subject is angry and/or sad?
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:11 PM on August 10, 2011


So this is a ripoff of Sad Guys On Trading Floors that started a day after sadguys, updated sporadically for about a year, lay dormant for two years, and started updating again less than a week ago? Huh. Interesting.
posted by dersins at 8:16 PM on August 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


I understand that the stock market is important because it provides liquidity for investors. But would I be correct in saying that the stock market now provides a gajillion times more liquidity than is necessary for encouraging investment, such that it primarily resembles a casino rather than a market for investing in companies?
posted by Salvor Hardin at 8:19 PM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


@dersins I knew there was something fishy about it..
posted by Surfin' Bird at 8:21 PM on August 10, 2011


White guys in suits, having a bad day at the office. Tragic.
posted by headnsouth at 8:21 PM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


'I don’t think it’s funny anymore,' says Matthew R. Robison, the blog’s creator.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:57 PM on August 10, 2011


You appreciate all that liquidity, meaning smaller spreads, brought about by algorithmic trading when you buy something, Salvor Hardin.

There isn't soo much a problem with Wall St. all-by-itself as a problem with our underlying theory of the firm. We've revised that theory several times, always moving towards firms being perfectly selfish, always with the goal that management should stop stealing from the shareholders as well as the employees and consumers. Afaik, each revision briefly worked until management worked out how to further abuse everyone else.

As an easy example, the business literature has established that, in aggregate, corporate acquisitions hurt stockholders, employees, and customers. In fact, corporate acquisitions funded by 'cash on hand', like Google or M$ buying up their own stock to buy a startup, work out about like investing in the S&P500, meaning a fair price was reached. Yet, stockholders get hosed when their corporations print more stock to buy comparably sized corporations, like the AT&T and T-mobile merger.

So why do mega-mergers happen if they invariably cost the stockholders money? Three theories : Executives get paid more for running larger companies. Executive only gain credibility for their skill in running large companies by making their companies larger through acquisitions. Executives emulate large cap executives, who got there through mergers.

As another example, executives often try expanding the company by taking on debt for their acquisitions or expansions plans, basically hiding the real costs from the stockholders. Do you know that GE is half a trillion dollars in debt? GE's market cap is only $160 billion! Is there any wonder the treasury downgrade prompted people to buy treasuries with companies so indebted?

We desperately need a new theory of the firm to push executives to work more for stockholder, employee, and customer interests. I'd personally start by thinking about deliberative opinion polls, but presumably Wall St.'s bonus structures would ultimately change too.

Ain't enough simply to say "be nice", "be socialist", etc. because whoever manages you will eventually start trying to rob you. You need an underlying structural change in corporate elections, compensation, something.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:58 PM on August 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


jeffburdges wrote: Yet, stockholders get hosed when their corporations print more stock to buy comparably sized corporations, like the AT&T and T-mobile merger.

I don't think anyone who has been holding SBC stock since its IPO is in any position to complain. If I had bought 1 share in 1983, that would have cost me $4.88. I'd now have 12 shares worth almost $28, plus $325.66 worth of dividends. I don't think 19% annual return is a bad deal at all.
posted by wierdo at 9:36 PM on August 10, 2011


Oh, and that's after buying Pacific Telesis, SNET, Ameritech, BellSouth, parts of McCaw Cellular, AT&T Wireless (the rest of McCaw, plus some other properties), and a bunch of other small wireless carriers. I'm sure I'm missing more.
posted by wierdo at 9:41 PM on August 10, 2011


Their little floor jackets all have cute little American flag patches on them. They're like money grubbing Cub Scouts!
posted by Horselover Phattie at 10:20 PM on August 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


But would I be correct in saying that the stock market now provides a gajillion times more liquidity than is necessary for encouraging investment, such that it primarily resembles a casino rather than a market for investing in companies?

I don't think you can have "limited liquidity" - it's an oxymoron. You have liquidity or you don't. if you somehow limited trading volume it would simply raise the transaction cost of trades and would negatively affect the whole market.
posted by GuyZero at 10:21 PM on August 10, 2011


Is this a bad time to have just started investing in the stock market?
posted by anarch at 10:22 PM on August 10, 2011


They're like money grubbing Cub Scouts!

...grub scouts?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:27 PM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is this a bad time to have just started investing in the stock market?

Of course not. Silvio Berlusconi just said that everything is going to be alright.
posted by vidur at 10:28 PM on August 10, 2011


Is this a bad time to have just started investing in the stock market?

As the saying goes, the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is right now.

Unless you believe that the Earth is about to end pretty soon in which case the best bet is to kill someone and take their tree.
posted by GuyZero at 10:37 PM on August 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am interested in the back story to these pictures. The fact that the subjects are always men, that they are bedecked in American flags (when their trades and loyalties presumably are international?), that they seem to be clinging to the antiquated practice of hanging out on a trading floor (are there any advantages) and that it is considered OK for a (press?) photographer to come to their workplace and spend time looking around for distraught expressions each time there is a market dive.
posted by rongorongo at 11:05 PM on August 10, 2011


Those dudes are one bad trade away from chucking it all to become bike messengers, only to come back and make millions to save the bike messenger service from unscrupulous real estate developers in the second half.

Those dudes have the life, they are chilling outside sitting on the car bomb barriers in front of the exchange drinking $500 bottles of wine from the bottle and smoking big cigars by 4:15 every day. Sometimes they have dates and they spread out blankets and eat cheese and apples and stuff.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:08 PM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Somehow it's not the scions of Dow 36,000 who're the ones I'm able to gin up a lot of sympathy for as they hit a rough patch playing with other people's money.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 11:14 PM on August 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


All the brokers I know are wheeler-dealer types and I assume these guys are the same but moreso. They are always trying to buy something, sell something or gamble. They take special pride in doing things like getting the bartender to run to the liquor store for whatever type of scotch the bar just happens to be out of and paying the bartender $500 to do it. Trying to buy your possessions, like offering you $1000 for your briefcase on the spot, or $100 for your hat. Trying to suck you in to strange side bets, like "how many Paul Newman films can the bartender name" everyone kicks in $50 bucks and picks a number, the guy who imagines he is the most charming gets the bartender to name every Paul Newman film she can think of, whoever came closest to the number gets all the cash. These are the types of guys that when I had a palm pilot would always be beaming me numbers and codes and passwords for massage parlors. If you can deal with that kind of shenanigans they are the nicest most generous guys in the world, throwing around money is like a pathology, and the entire service sector of New York is set up to accommodate them.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:30 PM on August 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Scream
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:32 PM on August 10, 2011


It would appear as thought they have their mind on their money or perhaps money on their mind.
posted by Sailormom at 11:34 PM on August 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


They've got their hands in the cash but no cash on hand.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:36 PM on August 10, 2011


You know why they're called brokers, right? It's 'cos they leave you broker.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:40 PM on August 10, 2011


Is this something I'd have to have a guillotine and/or a rope to understand?
posted by maxwelton at 1:15 AM on August 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is this something I'd have to have a guillotine and/or a rope to understand?

Agreed, these are the worst type of scum. Back in more reasonable times all companies were privately held, commoners could not simply use what they considered money, usually a few meagre dollars they had somehow managed to save, to buy into the world's great firms. Stock exchanges, and the fact that they let just about any street urchin with two nickels to rub together, buy a stake in a company, are a move backwards. Peasants should own nothing save the clothes on their back.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:20 AM on August 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


psst! You logged into the Ad hominem sockpuppet instead of the Strawman one.
posted by fullerine at 3:44 AM on August 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't think you can have "limited liquidity" - it's an oxymoron. You have liquidity or you don't. if you somehow limited trading volume it would simply raise the transaction cost of trades and would negatively affect the whole market.

Well, I'm no expert, but coudn't you limit the liquidity of the market if you required investors to hold on to a stock for a certain amount of time before selling it? For instance if you were only allowed to sell stocks after you'd held them for 1 week? Or a day? Or even just 30 seconds?

On reading more about liquidity, it's possible that liquidity isn't exactly the concept I'm trying to describe.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 4:12 AM on August 11, 2011


Am I mistaken, or aren't these the same guys who toasted the economy? I mean, there probably isn't a guy pictured here pulling in under a million a year, right?
posted by maxwelton at 4:12 AM on August 11, 2011


I understand that the stock market is important because it provides liquidity for investors.

Finally, someone thinking about the needs of the rich!
posted by DU at 4:39 AM on August 11, 2011


I like their cute little costumes with all the patches and buttons and tags :)
posted by dave99 at 4:54 AM on August 11, 2011


Am I mistaken, or aren't these the same guys who toasted the economy? I mean, there probably isn't a guy pictured here pulling in under a million a year, right?

you are mistaken. 1)Floor Traders are basically overpaid buggy-whip makers at this point. Its a slowly dying business. 2) None of those guys are making a million dollars a year. Still a lot, but not a million dollars. Maybe their bosses boss does. 3) Structured Products that were at the root of the issues are not traded open outcry so these guys had nothing to do with it.
posted by JPD at 4:56 AM on August 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


I am interested in the back story to these pictures.

The fact that the subjects are always men
well its not the most forward thinking business. Most floor traders are either in the business because it is what their dad did, or they are sort of scrappers from the outerboroughs. There are some woman who do it, but not many. Even by Wall Street standards its a male dominated business - partially because it also has the oldest average age.
that they are bedecked in American flags (when their trades and loyalties presumably are international?),
Presumably most of these pics were taken on a US exchange, so no none of their trades are international. Also demographically this cohort is pretty rah-rah america/republican/Giuliani was the man types. Take the 5:05 to Rockville Centre, Garden City to watch their kids (who just fucking love sports) play baseball/soccer/lacrosse/football.
that they seem to be clinging to the antiquated practice of hanging out on a trading floor (are there any advantages)
Nope - its pretty much buggy whips. The amount of volume that goes through the floor is a fraction of what it was a decade ago.
and that it is considered OK for a (press?) photographer to come to their workplace and spend time looking around for distraught expressions each time there is a market dive. Well these pics are from the floor of the exchanges. I believe they issue press credentials, and that there are people there everyday.
posted by JPD at 5:08 AM on August 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't understand sad traders. What does the trader care is happening on the markets, they make their vig on volume. If the market is collapsing, presumably it's a pretty good volume day, they're getting paid, why the long face? They should have long faces on Fridays before a long weekend when volume is nil.
posted by Keith Talent at 8:04 AM on August 11, 2011


Most floor guys end up running a slightly long book, so they probably are losing money. I'm pretty sure the guys running the computers doing the same job love it when volatility + volume spikes though.

And there are all sorts of things that are bad for business medium term when the market goes crazy like this.
posted by JPD at 8:17 AM on August 11, 2011


On reading more about liquidity, it's possible that liquidity isn't exactly the concept I'm trying to describe.

You're talking about frequency limits. Yes, this may be a good idea since there's essentially a whole class of high-frequency trading algorithms that are more-or-less trying to DOS stock exchanges all day long. I don't know enough stuff to know whether there's any practical way to implement a frequency limit.
posted by GuyZero at 9:28 AM on August 11, 2011


Well, I'm no expert, but coudn't you limit the liquidity of the market if you required investors to hold on to a stock for a certain amount of time before selling it? For instance if you were only allowed to sell stocks after you'd held them for 1 week? Or a day? Or even just 30 seconds?

The trouble is that people will just not use the market then.
posted by smackfu at 9:44 AM on August 11, 2011


The irony is that the floor traders would love some sort of mandatory minimum holding period (assuming it was measured in seconds or a minute or something)
posted by JPD at 10:04 AM on August 11, 2011


Keith Talent: "I don't understand sad traders. What does the trader care is happening on the markets, they make their vig on volume. If the market is collapsing, presumably it's a pretty good volume day, they're getting paid, why the long face? They should have long faces on Fridays before a long weekend when volume is nil."

*coughseethethirdcommentofthethreadcough*
posted by troll at 12:42 PM on August 11, 2011


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