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The Shock of the News

Published in Automated Trader Magazine Issue 11 Q4 2008

Machines can read the news now, but can they be trusted to act on it? There’s been a lot of talk about machine-readable news since our Q1 2008 feature*, but does that go any further than adding bells, whistles and meta-tags to the text streaming across the bottom of the screen? Spurred on by recent events, William Essex has returned to the search for a genuinely machine-usable news solution.

There's a lot of news about these days, and much of it has the capacity to impact trading outcomes. The frustrating part, though, is that the line from event to impact is neither predictable nor necessarily direct. There are green-amber-red statistics on US mortgage arrears/defaults, and the tale has been told of how the rating agencies heralded the downturn with sweeping downgrades just as soon as they saw the lights change. But would you, today, programme a causal link between those mortgage numb

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