Donald Trump sent the tweet heard 'round the defense industry Tuesday morning at exactly 35 seconds after 8:52 a.m. ET, blasting Boeing and suggesting he wanted to cancel the company's contract for the new Air Force One aircraft.
One second went by. Then two. No reaction on Wall Street.
It wasn't until a full 10 seconds later that Boeing stock began trading down on the news in the premarket hours, a dive that would shortly send Boeing's stock price down by as much as 1 percent in early trading, before rallying back later in the day.
The 10-second delay, which was calculated by the analysis firm Nanex, indicates that something rare was likely happening in global markets Tuesday morning: Human beings were seeing — and reacting to — news before computer trading programs could move on it.
In an era of super-fast algorithmic trading in which delays are measured in milliseconds and less, the 10-second gap indicates that possibly no one in global markets has yet figured out a way to incorporate Trump's tweets into their trading algorithms. If they had, the market response would likely have come much, much faster.
Trump's tweet said, "Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!" It's the kind of remark from the president-elect that would seem tailor made for high-speed traders looking to profit from a market disruption.
"The only way that Boeing tweet could have been better is if he tagged it '$BA,'" said Zachary David, a senior analyst at KOR Group, an analytics and trading compliance consultancy.
"Twitter should start an internal hedge fund," joked Eric Hunsader of Nanex, who spotted the 10-second delay between Trump's tweet and the market's reaction.
One caveat: It is always possible that algorithmic traders are already analyzing Trump's tweets and simply decided that the tweet was too vague to trade on or that any changes wouldn't be material to Boeing.