CLICK BASED TRADING WITH INTUITIVE
GRID DISPLAY OF MARKET DEPTH
The present application claims priority to a U.S. Provi- 5 sional Patent Application No. 60/186,322 entitled "Market Depth Display Click Based Trading and Mercury Display" filed Mar. 2, 2000, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.
FIELD OF INVENTION 10
The present invention is directed to the electronic trading of commodities. Specifically, the invention provides a trader with a versatile and efficient tool for executing trades. It facilitates the display of and the rapid placement of trade is orders within the market trading depth of a commodity, where a commodity includes anything that can be traded with quantities and/or prices.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
At least 60 exchanges throughout the world utilize electronic trading in varying degrees to trade stocks, bonds, futures, options and other products. These electronic exchanges are based on three components: mainframe computers (host), communications servers, and the exchange 25 participants' computers (client). The host forms the electronic heart of the fully computerized electronic trading system. The system's operations cover order-matching, maintaining order books and positions, price information, and managing and updating the database for the online 30 trading day as well as nightly batch runs. The host is also equipped with external interfaces that maintain uninterrupted online contact to quote vendors and other price information systems.
Traders can link to the host through three types of 35 structures: high speed data lines, high speed communications servers and the Internet. High speed data lines establish direct connections between the client and the host. Another connection can be established by configuring high speed networks or communications servers at strategic access 40 points worldwide in locations where traders physically are located. Data is transmitted in both directions between traders and exchanges via dedicated high speed communication lines. Most exchange participants install two lines between the exchange and the client site or between the 45 communication server and the client site as a safety measure against potential failures. An exchange's internal computer system is also often installed with backups as a redundant measure to secure system availability. The third connection utilizes the Internet. Here, the exchange and the traders 50 communicate back and forth through high speed data lines, which are connected to the Internet. This allows traders to be located anywhere they can establish a connection to the Internet.
Irrespective of the way in which a connection is 55 established, the exchange participants' computers allow traders to participate in the market. They use software that creates specialized interactive trading screens on the traders' desktops. The trading screens enable traders to enter and execute orders, obtain market quotes, and monitor positions. 60 The range and quality of features available to traders on their screens varies according to the specific software application being run. The installation of open interfaces in the development of an exchange's electronic strategy means users can choose, depending on their trading style and internal 65 requirements, the means by which they will access the exchange.
The world's stock, bond, futures and options exchanges have volatile products with prices that move rapidly. To profit in these markets, traders must be able to react quickly. A skilled trader with the quickest software, the fastest communications, and the most sophisticated analytics can significantly improve his own or his firm's bottom line. The slightest speed advantage can generate significant returns in a fast moving market. In today's securities markets, a trader lacking a technologically advanced interface is at a severe competitive disadvantage.
Irrespective of what interface a trader uses to enter orders in the market, each market supplies and requires the same information to and from every trader. The bids and asks in the market make up the market data and everyone logged on to trade can receive this information if the exchange provides it. Similarly, every exchange requires that certain information be included in each order. For example, traders must supply information like the name of the commodity, quantity, restrictions, price and multiple other variables. Without all of this information, the market will not accept the order. This input and output of information is the same for every trader.
With these variables being constant, a competitive speed advantage must come from other aspects of the trading cycle. When analyzing the time it takes to place a trade order for a given commodity, various steps contribute in different amounts to the total time required. Approximately 8% of the total time it takes to enter an order elapses between the moment the host generates the price for the commodity and the moment the client receives the price. The time it takes for the client application to display the price to the trader amounts to approximately 4%. The time it takes for a trade order to be transmitted to the host amounts to approximately 8%. The remainder of the total time it takes to place an order, approximately 80%, is attributable to the time required for the trader to read the prices displayed and to enter a trade order. The present invention provides a significant advantage during the slowest portion of the trading cycle—while the trader manually enters his order. Traders recognize that the value of time savings in this portion may amount to millions of dollars annually.
In existing systems, multiple elements of an order must be entered prior to an order being sent to market, which is time consuming for the trader. Such elements include the commodity symbol, the desired price, the quantity and whether a buy or a sell order is desired. The more time a trader takes entering an order, the more likely the price on which he wanted to bid or offer will change or not be available in the market. The market is fluid as many traders are sending orders to the market simultaneously. It fact, successful markets strive to have such a high volume of trading that any trader who wishes to enter an order will find a match and have the order filled quickly, if not immediately. In such liquid markets, the prices of the commodities fluctuate rapidly. On a trading screen, this results in rapid changes in the price and quantity fields within the market grid. If a trader intends to enter an order at a particular price, but misses the price because the market prices moved before he could enter the order, he may lose hundreds, thousands, even millions of dollars. The faster a trader can trade, the less likely it will be that he will miss his price and the more likely he will make money.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The inventors have developed the present invention which overcomes the drawbacks of the existing trading systems