Trader Talk

Why Knight's Investors Are Happy

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Knight Capital's investors are happy: they've made a 100 percent a little more than a week.

The 266 million shares issued in the convertible bond offering Knight completed on August 6 are freely convertible and free to trade as of yesterday (Monday).

That is a huge windfall to the recipients (Jeffries, Blackstone, GETCO, Stiefel, Stevens, TD Ameritrade) because they bought the shares at $1.50 per share. Knight closed today at $2.99. So the investor group has already—on paper—made a 100 percent profit on its investment. (See: Whale Watch: What Big Funds Are Buying — And Selling)

Thank You For Standing By Us.

That's what Knight Capital had to say to the Wall Street community in a full page ad in the WSJ today.

"Not only did you believe in the important role we play in the capital markets—you helped pull us through," the ad said.

They have reason to be thankful. Not only was the company saved (though at a steep cost to the old shareholders) from imminent dismemberment, but the trading community is diverting business back to them.

Statistics released by Knight show the damage caused by the August 1 "technology issue" and the recovery. Prior to August 1, Knight's share in trading of S&P 500 stocks was 12.5 percent for the year. In the first three trading days of August, that share plunged to 2.3 percent (for Aug. 2) to 5.3 percent (for Aug. 6).

But by August 9 and 10, that share had bounced back to roughly 10.5 percent. (More: How High Speed Trading Has Raised Costs for Investors)

And what about that trading glitch that almost ruined the firm on August 1? The company confirmed today that it had appointed an outside investigator to look into what happened...and will hopefully be able to answer the most important question: why did it take a half-hour to turn off the program?

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