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Market makers also occasionally try to deceive other traders using their order sizes and timing. These types of orders are called NITBB or NITSO (No Intention to Buy Bid or No Intention to Sell Offer). When using this technique, the market participant displays a huge size greatly exceeding all others seen on Level 2. Most often it’s done in order to provoke traders to move in the opposite direction, as they are trying to undercut this big size or to get in or out “front running” this size.
Example: If some player wants to accumulate shares at $5.90 while the market is at $5.98 x 10, he can try and display a huge size at $6.02, spooking traders into selling. Meanwhile our player places a bid for small shares at $5.90 with a reserve order for the amount of shares he needs, thus absorbing the selling. When he is done buying, he cancels his sell order. Of course this technique could now be used to propel the stock up. If a quick profit was the original intention of our player, he can do just that by selling his accumulated shares at a higher price. More often, this technique is used simply to accumulate shares when building big position. Needless to say, this can be done only on thinly traded issues – an attempt to do something like this on AAPL will be doomed. This also carries a certain risk – there could be someone attracted by big size to initiate or liquidate his position, and if that happens, our player will be stuck with big position against his original intention.A trader can try and use this situation for a scalp in the opposite direction, buying when the accumulation is done and big intimidating size disappears.A variation of this technique would be to drive a stock to a certain price level by following it with a bid or an offer which stays slightly away from the inside market and chases it as a price moves. If a stock trades at $5.98 x 10 and our player wants it at, say $6.20 to start unloading his position or for whatever reason, he displays big size at $5.93 for instance, and trails it higher as a stock moves higher but stays behind the best bid all the time.In both cases such a “fake” order is usually easy to spot given two signs. Firstly, such an order most often stays slightly away from the inside market. Secondly, if some trades are executed against this order, it usually disappears immediately.
An ax can easily use an ECN to hide much of their action. They can and will use fake outs. Keeping an eye on Level 2 will reveal the ax.
Each market participant is recognized by the four-letter ID that appears on level II quotes. Here are some of the most popular ones: NITE, ETRD, SCHB, TDCM & ARCA.
NITE - wholesaler
SCHB - wholesaler
TDCM - retailer
ETRD - retail ECN
ARCA - an ECN
NITE : This is the king MM of the OTCBB. He intimides traders and other MMs use that to their advantage knowing that he scares them. That's why NITE is the shaker on most stock runs; he is the most common ax. NITE could be on the ask all the time, he could be leading a dip scaring sellers to SCHB and TDCM on the bid.
Other ECNs : ARCA, BRUT, BTRD, INCA, INTL, ISLD, REDI
Wholesalers : ETRD, HRZG, MASH, NITE, SHWB
Big Shorters : JIMK, POND, GNET or ARCA (anyone can use GNET, even other MMs because it's an ECN).
TDCM - retailer MM.
Top Retail Dilutors : ACAP, AGIS, BAMM, BMIC, CHIG, CLYP, FANC, FRAN, JIMK, MAYF, NATL, PERT, SACM, UCAP, VERT, VFIN
Biggest OTCBB ECNs : GNET, TRAC & DATA
There are three different types of players in the marketplace:
Market Makers (MM) - These are the players who provide liquidity in the marketplace. This means that they are required to buy when nobody else is buying and sell when nobody else is selling. They make the market. In other words, the Market Maker buys and sells the stock to brokerage firms.
Electronic Communication Networks (ECN) - It is an electronic system that brings buyers and sellers together for the electronic execution of trades. It disseminates information to interested parties about the orders entered into the network and allows these orders to be executed. It is important to note that anyone can trade through ECNs, even large institutional traders.
Wholesalers (Order flow firms) - Many online brokers sell their order flow to wholesalers; these order flow firms then execute orders on behalf of online brokers (usually retail traders).
The most important market maker to look for is called the ax. This is the market maker that controls the price action in a given stock. You can find out which market maker this is by watching the level II action for a few days - the market maker who consistently dominates the price action is the ax. The ax isn't always trading the stock in one direction or another. Sometime he is keeping it in a tight range and sometimes he is not there at all and another ax may step forward. Note that there are times where there is no ax present. The point is the ax is the one to watch closer than all other parties or MMs. Many day traders make sure to trade with the ax because it typically results in a higher probability of success. Note that the ax is not static. On any given day any party can be an ax, there may be one ax in the morning and another in the afternoon. If a big order comes onto the trading desk of a firm that doesn't do big volume in a certain name, the ax will take care of it and command the action.
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