Friday, March 13, 2009

The Uptick Rule Wasn't Irrelevant; Put It Back!

Finally it appears that there is a major reconsideration under way of the rules that have come to favor short-sellers and quant traders. The rule wasn't irrelevant, and that the changes were less well-thought-out than many thought -- particularly those who believe that there is no reason whatsoever to get back to this.

Why does this matter so much? Because the issue is intertwined with the mark-to-market debate -- these two "rules" have destroyed more value than the whole subprime/Alt-A /bad CDO mortgages have combined.

The common stocks of banks have become the arbiters of the situation in the absence of the government taking control of the situation -- not the banks themselves. If they are the arbiters, the prosecutors -- runaway, rogue prosecutors -- are the abolition of the uptick rule and the concomitant approval of the ETFs that were meant for rapid trading in either direction, regardless of the destruction of capital and the amazing penalty that you get when you try to embrace equities and the capital-formation process. Change the rules.

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