The market started tanking minutes before the weak Chicago PMI was leaked this morning, so there was obviously some leaking going on, right? Is the SEC paying attention?
Actually, hold your horses.
Bespoke Invesment Group, which put together the chart on the right, explains:
While everyone likes a scandal these days, a deeper look at an intraday chart of the S&P 500 and the firm that compiles the Chicago PMI (Kingsbury International) shows that there was most likely nothing nefarious taking place. The S&P 500 certainly did decline prior to the official release, but traders should be aware that anyone who wants early access to this report can do so provided they are willing to pay for it.
On the company’s website, Kingsbury describes the Chicago PMI as, “a proven monthly ‘first look’ at business, government and NGO economic activity in the USA.” They then go on to say that subscribers to Kingsbury’s data will receive “access to this market-moving data 3 minutes before public release.” In other words, Kingsbury will ‘leak’ the report to anyone who is willing to pay at least $200 per month.
Bespoke goes onto note that this is (yet) another example of how the market is stacked against the little guy, which is undoubtedly true — however the alternative would be for the government to ban private organisations from doing research on behalf of their own clients which would be ridiculous.
As we’ve said, we’d be better off killing the myth of the level playing field, instilling a more caveat investor attitude among the little guys, than in trying to keep up the idea that everyone can play the game.