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Strategic trading behavior and price distortion in a manipulated market: Anatomy of a squeeze

Author

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  • Merrick, John J.
  • Naik, Narayan Y.
  • Yadav, Pradeep K.

Abstract

This paper investigates the trading behavior of major market participants during an attempted delivery squeeze in a bond futures contract traded in London. Using the cash and futures trades of dealers and customers, we analyze their strategic trading behavior, price distortion and learning in a market manipulation setting. We argue that the marked differences in the penalties for settlement failures in the cash and futures markets create conditions that favor squeezes. We recommend that regulators require special flagging of forward term repurchase agreements on the key deliverables that span futures contract maturity date, and exchanges remove the conditions that create squeeze incentives in the first place, e.g. mark-to-market their contract specifications much more frequently, or consider redefining the contract to be cash-settled on a basket of traded bonds.

Suggested Citation

  • Merrick, John J. & Naik, Narayan Y. & Yadav, Pradeep K., 2004. "Strategic trading behavior and price distortion in a manipulated market: Anatomy of a squeeze," CFR Working Papers 04-07, University of Cologne, Centre for Financial Research (CFR).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfrwps:0407
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stephen J. Brown & William N. Goetzmann & James M. Park, 1998. "Hedge Funds and the Asian Currency Crisis of 1997," New York University, Leonard N. Stern School Finance Department Working Paper Seires 98-014, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business-.
    2. Dunn, Kenneth B. & Spatt, Chester S., 1984. "A strategic analysis of sinking fund bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 399-423, September.
    3. Nicola Anderson & John Sleath, 2001. "New estimates of the UK real and nominal yield curves," Bank of England working papers 126, Bank of England.
    4. Vikas Agarwal, 2004. "Risks and Portfolio Decisions Involving Hedge Funds," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 17(1), pages 63-98.
    5. Barnhill, Theodore M., 1990. "Quality Option Profits, Switching Option Profits, and Variation Margin Costs: An Evaluation of Their Size and Impact on Treasury Bond Futures Prices," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(01), pages 65-86, March.
    6. Joshua D. Coval, 2001. "Is Sound Just Noise?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(5), pages 1887-1910, October.
    7. Duffie, Darrell, 1996. " Special Repo Rates," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(2), pages 493-526, June.
    8. Cooper, David J. & Donaldson, R. Glen, 1998. "A Strategic Analysis of Corners and Squeezes," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(01), pages 117-137, March.
    9. Boyle, Phelim P, 1989. " The Quality Option and Timing Option in Futures Contracts," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(1), pages 101-113, March.
    10. Epps, Thomas W, 1975. "Security Price Changes and Transaction Volumes: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(4), pages 586-597, September.
    11. Chatterjea, Arkadev & Jarrow, Robert A., 1998. "Market Manipulation, Price Bubbles, and a Model of the U.S. Treasury Securities Auction Market," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(02), pages 255-289, June.
    12. Copeland, Thomas E, 1976. "A Model of Asset Trading under the Assumption of Sequential Information Arrival," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 31(4), pages 1149-1168, September.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Price manipulation; Futures markets; Squeeze;

    JEL classification:

    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage

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