Tag Archives: NASDAQ

Global Markets Mental Health Test

After Friday’s mega jump in the US stock market, the expression “irrational exuberance” just doesn’t cut it anymore. Even if last week’s unemployment number should be an indicator of recovery for the US economy – which is doubtful – it is not a valid argument for sending the Nasdaq index to a 11 year high. This behavior has more in common with bipolar disorders than anything else. Europe‘s regulators now want to stress test the stock markets and the electronic trading platforms in the same way they’ve (relatively) successfully stress tested European banks in the past. Well, let me remind you that stress,  in general terms, is regarded only as a symptom of something else.

“Here it is; the first ever Global Markets Mental Health Test!”


But let me point out that there are per definition two kinds of stress – the biological kind and the mechanical kind. I’m not 100% sure, but I think the famous bank stress tests is of the mechanical type. So it may be quite possible that the authorities are missing vital facts about the stressed-out banks by disregarding the human factor. 

As reported by Tim Cave from Financial News.Com, a number of industry practitioners have called on European regulators to force exchanges and alternative trading platforms to adopt stress-tests, in a bid to improve their resilience to large-scale shocks, volatility and the rise of high-frequency trading.

While the concept of stress tests has become common in the banking sector after the financial crisis, and measures are also being implemented to simulate the resilience of clearing houses in times of stress, no similar measures have been suggested for trading venues.

Speaking at a high-frequency trading conference in Paris yesterday, Carlo Comporti, a director at regulatory consultancy Promontory Financial Group and former acting secretary-general of the European Securities and Markets Authority, said that needed to change, fiercefinance.com reports.

Bipolar Markets

However, both mechanical and biological stress have one thing in common; its a symptom that something isn’t right.

The actual problem is usually far more difficult to identify.

But with the recent market volatility in mind – here’s the clinical cognitive symptoms of stress:

  • Memory problems
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor judgment
  • Pessimistic approach or thoughts
  • Anxious or racing thoughts
  • Constant worrying

To me, that pretty much sums up the market sentiment at the moment.

And the similarities between biological and mechanical stress are fascinating.

“Biology primarily attempts to explain major concepts of stress in a stimulus-response manner, much like a how a psychobiological sensory system operates.”

(Source: Wikipedia)

A Market Mental Health Test

It’s also common knowledge that stress can be a symptom of a mental disease or disorder, as well as long-term stress is known to cause mental problems.

However,  to my knowledge there has never been a mental health test for the financial markets (and I’m not sure if there ever will be).

So, I have put together some free online tools that might be helpful in determine what kind of stress the stock market (and the banks) is struggling with, and give us a clue to what is the real and underlying problems.

 Here it is; the first ever Global Markets Mental Health Test!


Do you have a mental disorder?

(Take the test)


Which mental disorder do you have?

(Take the test)


Are you schizophrenic?

(Take the test)


Do you have a borderline personality?

(Take the test)


How depressed are you?

(Take the test)


How manic are you?

(Take the test)


How well do you manage your anger?

(Take the test)


Do you have a alcohol or drug problem?

(Take the test)


Are you addicted to cybersex?

(Take the test)


Are you a workaholic?

(Take the test)


Do you have  obsessive-compulsive disorder?

(Take the test)


Are you a retard?

(Take the test)

Please take the time to answer the poll:

Those of you with muliple personality, please fill in this one, too:

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Filed under International Econnomic Politics, National Economic Politics, Philosophy

Citibank Hacked: 200.000 Credit Card Numbers Stolen, May Affect 20 Million Customers

Citigroup Inc says computer hackers has breached the bank‘s network and accessed the data of about 200.000 bank card holders in North America, the latest of a string of cyber attacks on high-profile companies. The data theft may affect more than 20 million customers.  How many incidents like this do we need before the industry and it’s regulators realize what we’re up against?

“For the security of these customers, we are not disclosing further details.”

Sean Kevelighan

According to Financial Times did the data theft happen in early May this year. And like Sony, Citigroup have not bothered to tell their customers and the public about it before now – about a month later. Well, Nasdaq Stock Exchange waited a whole year before they told their customers that their computer system had been compromised….

Citigroup – once the largest financial firm in the world – says the names of customers, account numbers and contact information, including email addresses, were viewed in the breach, Reuters writes.

However, the bank points out that other information such as birth dates, social security numbers, card expiration dates and card security codes (CVV) were not compromised.

“We are contacting customers whose information was impacted. Citi has implemented enhanced procedures to prevent a recurrence of this type of event,” Sean Kevelighan, a US-based spokesman, says in an email.

“For the security of these customers, we are not disclosing further details.”

In the brief email statement, Citi do not say how the breach has occurred.

Very comforting, indeed.

Reuters also quote another Citi spokesman, James Griffiths in Hong Kong, saying that the breach has affected 1 percent of North American card customers, which the bank’s annual report totals 21 million.

So, what is it? 200.000 or 20 million? It kinda makes a little difference, don’t you think?

And like the Japanese electronics and entertainment group Sony, which declared several security breaches of its networks earlier this year, Citi might come under fire for not telling customers sooner.

“It may be the bank’s business, but it’s the consumer’s personal information so consumers deserve to be told about security breaches immediately,” Dan Simpson, a spokesman for Australia’s Consumer Action Law Center, an advocacy group, says in a comment.

“It’s hard to see any reason why this sort of breach couldn’t have been disclosed much sooner.”

Read the full story at Reuters.

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Filed under Technology

EU Institutions Hit By Major Cyber Attack

The European Commission and the External Action Service have been hit by a major cyber attack ahead of a key EU summit where crucial decisions on the future structure of the bloc, countries’ economic strategies and the ongoing war in Libya are to be discussed, according to news reports.

“We’re regularly hit by cyber attacks, but this one’s a big one.”

An internal email seen by the EUobserver.com and sent to all staff warned: “We have found evidence that both the commission and EEAS are the subject of an ongoing widespread cyber attack.”

The commission will not comment on the nature of the attacks due to security concerns, but has confirmed the institutions are indeed the focus of a serious strike.

Meanwhile officials are comparing the attack to an assault on the French finance ministry last year ahead of a G20 meeting.

“We’re regularly hit by cyber attacks, but this one’s a big one,” an EU source familiar with the matter that did not want to be named says.

The commission is currently attempting to assess the scale of the threat underway and in order to prevent the “disclosure of unauthorised information”, and has shut down external access to email and the institutions’ intranet.

All staff have been asked to change their passwords and to send sensitive information via secure email.

One EU source suggested the attack was similar to the massive assault which bombarded the French finance ministry last last year and was described by budget minister François Baroin as “spectacular”.

The authors of the attack had been particularly interested in files on the G20 summit held in Paris in February.

At the time, Patrick Pailloux, the head of France’s National Agency for Information Systems Security described the attack as “pure espionage … one of the most important attacks, if not the most important, ever to target the public administration.”

Some 150 computers were affected. French officials also suggested that some of the information was redirected to Chinese sites.

An EU source suggested that in this case too, China may be among the suspects.

“This is an important summit in many ways. There are people who want to know what the different positions are in what’s being discussed.”

In the attack on Brussels officials are publicly refusing to discuss the scale of the attack or its source.

“We are not speculating on the origin,” EU institutional affairs spokesman Anthony Gravali tells the EUobserver.com.

It is thought to be the first such attack on the External Action Service, although Gravali was keen to downplay this record.

“It’s difficult to say whether this is the first one. So much of the EAS is still technically DG Relex [the external relations department of the commission, the precursor of the EAS],” he says.

Related by the Econotwist’s:


Filed under International Econnomic Politics, Laws and Regulations, Technology