Weil on Finance: Katsuyama Beats O’Brien

Morning links with Bloomberg View financial columnist Jonathan Weil

Happy Friday, dear Viewfinders. Here's a look at what I've been reading this morning.

We can now officially declare a winner in that crazy debate on CNBC the other day between William O'Brien and Brad Katsuyama over high-frequency trading.

It was Katsuyama, better known as "the hero from Michael Lewis's new book, `Flash Boys.'" O'Brien, the president of BATS Global Markets Inc., said some stuff about how his exchanges work that turned out not to be accurate, which wasn't a particularly bright thing to do. So BATS felt compelled to correct him. And according to Scott Patterson of the Wall Street Journal, it was the New York Attorney General's office that pressured BATS to do it. So kudos to Eric Schneiderman for that one; somebody has to keep cable TV financial news honest.

And nobody was happier about how things turned out there than the anti-HFT crusaders at Themis Trading.

This comes from a post by the brokerage firm yesterday: "While we didn't think it could get much better than watching an HFT-enabling stock exchange executive self-implode before a live national television audience, we just got some more fantastic news. If we could only do two things to try to fix our market structure right now, one would be the elimination of maker/taker and the second would be to eliminate the speed differential between private data feeds and the SIP. Well, yesterday, we received news that one of these wishes may come true. SEC Commissioner Luis Aguilar said the SEC should seriously consider implementing a pilot program that would temporarily ban maker-taker rebates for certain securities." Click the links to read more about what the maker/taker model is, because they do a better explanation there than I can here in a linksfest.

Gee, and some folks wonder why skeptics see an Internet bubble .

GrubHub Inc., which lets city slickers order food online, priced its initial public offering yesterday at $26. That gives it a $2 billion market cap, or about 15 times its revenue and 359 times its earnings last year.

Blythe Masters is leaving JPMorgan , 27 years after she first joined as an intern.

This column by Gillian Tett of the Financial Times is the smartest commentary I've seen yet about her departure's significance.

Miracles do happen sometimes on Wall Street.

Nobody believed this would be possible back a couple of years ago. "It gives me great pleasure to say that checks are going in the mail that will make all public customers of MF Global Inc. 100 percent whole," said James Giddens, liquidation trustee for the bankrupt broker. A total of $6.7 billion will have been returned to more than 26,000 customers when it's all over.

Dumb article of the week

Here's the headline from USA Today: "Is a 1987-type market crash 37 days away?" OK, maybe if they had said 36 days or 38 days? But 37 days, no way, no how, not happening.

Here's a link to this month's " Investment Outlook ," by William H. Gross of Pimco, "your global investment authority."

His cat died. Her name was Bob. (Not a typo.) He draws life lessons.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

    To contact the author on this story:
    Jonathan Weil at jweil16@bloomberg.net

    To contact the editor on this story:
    James Greiff at jgreiff@bloomberg.net

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