The Stock Market in Scope

Day traders and those individuals heavily invested in the stock market never shy away when it comes to receiving trading tips from the experts. However, the stock market is wonderful at sparking debate and casting doubt on even the most expert of opinions. Such is the case with the recent wisdom dispensed to the world by Micheal Lewis. He appeared on NBC in order to promote his latest publication on the subject of high-frequency trading. Later the same day, he appeared on CNBC where he defended his views on the practice and how it impacts the market as a whole. His book, Flash Boys, is bringing some old debates back to life concerning just what the impact of high frequency trading is on the market at large.

The book itself outlines the topic beautifully, making the content accessible to both the layperson and the experienced trader alike. He covers everything from the upgrade of the hardware driving the stock market to the arrest Goldman Sachs employees back in 2009. Through opinion and storytelling, Lewis paints a vivid picture of the evolution of the stock market over the past 10 years. Where the book falls short is in its attempt to tackle some extremely complex ideas by characterizing some institutions and stock market practices as either villainous or heroic. The issues simply are not that black and white. In some cases, according to other market experts, the information is downright inaccurate.

Some parts of his arguments characterize high-frequency trading as a practice that preys on small, “mom and pop” investors. He makes this assertion by claiming that many of the powers that exist behind the most influential speed traders have inside information or some sort of natural advantage that ultimately costs middle-class investors money. However, conventional wisdom in the financial sector has accepted the idea that high-frequency traders are actually competing against each other for profits in order to fulfill the expectations of average, retail investors.

Lewis also gives the distinct impression that speed traders make exorbitant amounts of money on a regular basis. Again, this assertion is not completely accurate. In reality, firms working with this strategy are operating just above breaking even in most cases. When the numbers are evaluated, it turns out that the entire high-frequency trading industry made only $1 billion dollars over 2012. The number sounds large. However, it is small-time earnings when compared to the $5 billion in profits that were made in the same year by JP Morgan Chase alone.

What’s Happening in Business

There are a variety of events that are affecting various companies and industries. The news that a consumer may find of interest concerns an automobile manufacturer and a couple of tech companies.

Tesla Motors

A ban that was put in place by New Jersey is being appealed by Tesla Motors Inc. The ban prevents the direct sales of their automobiles directly to the public. Tesla is arguing that the ban prevents them from offering consumers sustainable transportation and will give entrenched franchise dealers in the state an unfair advantage.

The Chief Executive of Tesla is fighting with United States car dealers in many states to offer the company’s electric Model S sedan for sale directly to the consumer. A commission in New Jersey is preventing Tesla from selling their vehicles by imposing a ban the company. The ban is being appealed to the state’s Superior Court.

One of the main issues is franchise car dealers have a conflict of interest in selling electric cars. Selling electric car effectively means highlighting the reason electric cars are superior to gasoline cars. Tesla is arguing the ban is a violation of the state’s constitution.

Apple

A recent ad campaign from Samsung is having an effect on Apple. This is a claim that was made by the lawyer who is representing Samsung in their patent trial with Apple. The ads from Samsung worried an Apple executive who suggested a change to their own agency in a message to the CEO.

The ad campaign is seen as one reason why Apple is continuing to sue Apple for patent infringement. A lot of work is needed by Apple to turn around the effect of Samsung’s ads. This was pointed out by Samsung’s lawyer in the Apple executive’s email.

The current trial between Apple and Samsung is the latest in an ongoing series of lawsuits. Both have a problem as they are claiming products have ideas and features that are stolen. Five patents are currently being infringed by Samsung, as claimed by Apple. Samsung is currently accusing Apple of stealing two ideas to use in their iPads and iPhones.

Microsoft

Five months after the last update to Windows 8.1, Microsoft has announced another major update. There was an announcement by Microsoft at their Build Developer conference taking place in San Francisco. The goal of this update is to make a traditional keyboard and mouse controls easier to use. There are also a variety of updates to address consumer complaints.

EPA Under Suspicion of Threatening Test Subjects’ Safety

The spotlight is on the Environmental Protection Agency after it was discovered that the government organization was not fully informing human test subjects on the potential harm of certain pollutants, harm that could eventually be cancer-causing.

In the recently-released Inspector General report for the Environmental Protection Agency, it was discovered that not every test subject truly knows exactly what the risks are before signing up for testing.

Federal law gives the EPA the right to perform testing on humans in an effort to research the harm done to humans by harm-inducing pollutants. However, while it has been discovered in recent years that the EPA is fully within the law’s bounds by performing testing between humans and diesel exhaust emissions, test subjects’ forms of consent failed to fully disclose the dangers of the testing and the pollutant being used.

Diesel exhaust has been a known carcinogen if inhaled in large quantities over time. This possible cancerous affect, however, was found on only a portion of the forms for the EPA’s tests between humans and diesel fumes.

For example, one form compared the test subjects’ experience with being exposed to a harmful pollutant as being in a large-scale city on a smoggy day; yet the pollutant levels used during testing were far greater than that of the average city that experiences smog.

Some of the most dangerous testing done by the EPA is performed on the University of North Carolina campus; it involves pumping very dangerous pollutants into minuscule chambers which contained human test subjects. This testing was very lucrative for the subjects (between $900 and $1400), yet also involved consent forms that were ambiguous about the dangerous nature of the pollutants being used.

In response to the inspector general’s findings, the EPA is defensive, yet admits to having room for improvement when it comes to informing their human test subjects to the full scope of the harm that is done by testing. The defense comes from the fact that the tests themselves are being done within the regulations given to them, even if the ethics of their consent forms is in a morally shady area.

Hot Topics Today

There are many serious issues in politics today that people need to constantly watch the news just to check up on everything that is happening. There are a variety of problems that affect the country as a whole, and there are numerous opinions on which avenues are the right ones to take to rectify the problems.

The Most Important Problem Is The Economy

There are various viewpoints in the political arena on whether the economy is improving. Some say that it is and others say that it isn’t. It all depends on which sector of the country they are looking at. For many people, losing a job means the economy is getting worse, but for others that are doing well, the economy is improving. The futile attempts at the government trying to fix the problems with the deficit and the economy have not been seen to improve life for many people. Bickering between the Democrat and Republican parties has long caused a problem for improving the economy so many people have suffered as a result of it. The polarization of the two parties has been seen so much in the last couple of years because they refuse to make decision that are best for the country as a whole.

Who Will Be The Next President?

Since President Obama has served twice, the next president will have to deal with quite a few of the problems that were caused and not rectified during his term. There are many prospective candidates that could run, but no one can be sure what will happen during the election.

The Healthcare Reform Situation

Where the healthcare reform situation has helped several people because they can now get insurance where they could not before, it has also hurt many others by causing them to pay hundreds of dollars extra per month. The healthcare reform law has been despised by the Republicans and welcomed with open arms by the Democrats. They can’t come to common ground with the different aspects of the new law.

Politics will always play a huge part in what happens in the United States on a daily basis and it can be unnerving to the public. It can make or break the country. In the years that are coming up, many people hope that there can be an agreement by the politicians to do what is right for the country without polarizing the parties against each other.