Stock prices influenced by Twitter and Facebook, according to UK finance professionals

New research from Colt Technology Services shows that social media has a place in predicting the movement of stock prices but speed and accuracy are barriers.


London, 12 February 2013: Share price volatility is affected by public opinion on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, according to a survey of 360 UK financial professionals. The research, carried out by Colt Technology Services, found that 63 per cent of respondents, including brokers and heads of trading desks, believe the valuation of individual stocks can be directly linked to public sentiment contained in social media channels.

While only 7 per cent of respondents regard social media sentiment as a leading indicator, just under half (45 per cent) of respondents regard it as a trailing indicator, demonstrating that social media definitely has a role to play. Firms such as hedge funds and proprietary trading houses can now scan social media data at random and then categorise messages into one of a range of public mood states. The firms then use algorithmic or high frequency trading strategies to place trade orders, enabling them to potentially steal a march on competitors who trade using more traditional forms of data.

According to Hugh Cumberland, Solution Manager, Payment & Settlement Services at Colt: “In a market where liquidity is highly valued and investors cautious, new sources of competitive advantage will always be welcome. What’s important is working out how best to leverage the data mined from millions of social media messages to help trading firms cut through inertia and deliver much needed volume.”

While market participants do believe that there is a link between share price and global sentiment, the research did highlight some concerns about sentiment-based trading. Nearly a third of respondents believe that the ability to respond fast enough to social media sentiment is a barrier to adoption. The sheer volume of data from social media was also one of the major challenges to creating successful trading strategies, with 43 per cent claiming that they would struggle to respond fast enough to the daily influx of information.

Cumberland continued: “Data mined from millions of tweets and Facebook posts will only add to the increasingly large volumes of information flowing through a firm’s IT systems. With additional capacity and bandwidth required to store, access and manipulate the millions of messages, social media analysis will need to be underpinned by an appropriate IT infrastructure to ensure a consistent, fast and reliable flow of data into the heart of the trading environment.”

In addition to the technical concerns about processing large amount of trades, respondents do see the accuracy of information as a barrier to mainstream adoption at the moment.  Cumberland concluded: “Getting data to the heart of the trading systems as fast as possible is nothing new.  Addressing anxiety over data integrity requires confidence that the tools can accurately separate credible data from the general social noise along with maliciously generated content.  While only 13 per cent of respondents saw regulatory pressures as a barrier to adoption, the scrutiny that now surrounds the industry means that confidence levels have to improve significantly before social media powered trading becomes the status quo.”
 

About Colt
 

Colt is the information delivery platform, enabling its customers to deliver, share, process and store their vital business information. An established leader in delivering integrated computing and network services to major organisations, midsized businesses and wholesale customers, Colt operates a 22-country, 43,000km network that includes metropolitan area networks in 39 major European cities with direct fibre connections into 18,000 buildings and 20 carrier neutral Colt data centres.

In 2010, the Colt Data Centre Services business was launched to deliver innovative high quality data centre solutions at a Colt or customer site. Our Innovative data centres are rapid to deploy, flexible and highly efficient.

In addition to its direct sales capability, Colt has four indirect channels to market; Agent, Franchise, Distributor and Wholesale which includes Carriers, Service Providers, VARs and Voice Resellers.

Colt is listed on the London Stock Exchange (COLT). Information about Colt and its services can be found at www.colt.net

About the research
 

The online survey was conducted at the end of 2012 amongst 360 UK financial services professionals. 

For more information, please contact:

Press contacts
Colt, François d’Essertaux
DDI: +44(0)20 7863 2953
Mobile: +44 (0) 7538 095 485
Email: francois.dessertaux@colt.net

Weber Shandwick, Tim Focas
DDI:   +44 (0)207 067 0532
Mobile : +44 (0)783 5517 004
Email: tim.focas@webershandwick.com

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