Market manipulation is the act of intentionally increasing or decreasing the price of a security or somehow else manipulating the market’s behavior because of personal gains. Mostly market manipulation is illegal, but it can be hard for authorities and regulators to notice whether it is happening or not. In addition, market manipulation can become a challenge for the person responsible in case the number of the participants in the market increases.

It is very easier to manipulate the stock price of smaller businesses because other market participants and analysts do not monitor them closely as they monitor medium and large businesses. Market manipulation is also known as stock manipulation or price manipulation.

Market manipulation can take different forms in the markets. One way the price of a security can be deflated is by placing several hundreds of smaller orders at a much lower price compared to the price that the security is being traded. As a result, the investors get the understanding that there is something not right with the company, hence making them sell the securities at even a lower price.

Another example of market manipulation is whereby different brokers place buy-and-sell orders simultaneously, and the brokers cancel each other but giving out the perception of increased interest in the security because of the increased volume.

Forms of market manipulation

Market manipulation can be found in some of the following forms:

  • Churning. This is when traders place buy-and-sell orders at the same price, and this is usually meant to attract more investors and increase the price at the same time.
  • Painting the tape. Here, a group of traders creates rumors or activities to increase the stock price. This is also known as ‘Ramping’ or ‘Runs.’
  • Wash trading. The trade sells and re-purchases the same security or a substantial amount of the same security to generate more activity and increase the price as well.
  • Bear raiding. This is where a trade attempts to reduce the stock price through either short or heavy selling.
  • Cornering the market. This is the scenario where the trader purchases enough of a certain commodity, stock or another asset in order for him or her to control the supply and be able to determine the price for it.
  • Insider trading. Here, insiders with critical and confidential information about a business capitalize on that knowledge to make a profit and avoid losses via buying and selling of stocks.