Scanning capital markets could help fend off terror attacks
- That some traders may have acted on a tip-off about the Hamas attack of 7 October suggests that intelligence agencies could use AI scanners to spot signs of danger in market patterns.
A new study in the US suggests some market players placed bets in anticipation of Hamas’s 7 October attack on Israeli targets in which more than 1,200 people were killed. While it’s unsettling to contemplate profits made off terror, could trading patterns serve as intelligence inputs for agencies tasked with thwarting such attacks? If market participants have information about what’s going to happen, no matter how few they are, it might be useful to watch out for suspicious activity. But linking any market trades to foreknowledge of violence is easier said than done. In the case of Israel, suspicions have been stoked by a study titled Trading on Terror? by Robert Jackson Jr and Joshua Mitts, who teach law at New York University and Columbia University, respectively. Jackson Jr has also been commissioner of the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Their research has revealed a spike in apparent punts made just days before October’s outrage on the value of some Israeli company shares dropping. This was done through short-selling on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange of a top exchange-traded fund invested in these firms.