House of Cards
The Conference Board — a group that produces a leading consumer-confidence survey — will suspend its practice of letting journalists have a half hour sneak peek of its report out of fears the information could slip early to traders, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The group had given a head start to a cadre of reporters so they could prepare their stories, a fairly typical media practice.
Now The Conference Board will just publish its consumer-confidence numbers on its website and send out a news release when the report goes live.
The advent of high-speed computerized trading has pushed investors to seek market-moving information a fraction of a second before their competitors. To meet this demand, many media organizations, including Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co., have set up systems to feed data directly into traders' computers, allowing elite investors to trade on the information ahead of the broader public.
That development, combined with recent instances of suspicious trading ahead of media embargoes, has prompted a broad re-evaluation of how this data is disseminated.
The decision comes in the wake of a recent CNBC report that Thomson Reuters had released information from a University of Michigan consumer confidence survey two seconds early to traders willing to pay a fee.
"We basically became concerned that while it might be perfectly legal to monetize the data in certain ways, that it could contribute to the perception that the playing field wasn't level," The Conference Board's president Jon Spector told the Journal.
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