The Michael Lewis book Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt discusses high-frequency trading, including the tactics of spoofing , layering and quote stuffing, which are all now illegal. Much information happens to be unwittingly embedded in market data, such as quotes and volumes. By observing a flow of quotes, computers are capable of extracting information that has not yet crossed the news screens. Since all quote and volume information is public, such strategies are fully compliant with all the applicable laws. Filter trading is one of the more primitive high-frequency trading strategies that involves monitoring large amounts of stocks for significant or unusual price changes or volume activity.
This includes trading on announcements, news, or other event criteria. Software would then generate a buy or sell order depending on the nature of the event being looked for. Tick trading often aims to recognize the beginnings of large orders being placed in the market. For example, a large order from a pension fund to buy will take place over several hours or even days, and will cause a rise in price due to increased demand.
An arbitrageur can try to spot this happening then buy up the security, then profit from selling back to the pension fund. This strategy has become more difficult since the introduction of dedicated trade execution companies in the s which provide optimal trading for pension and other funds, specifically designed to remove the arbitrage opportunity. Certain recurring events generate predictable short-term responses in a selected set of securities.
Another set of high-frequency trading strategies are strategies that exploit predictable temporary deviations from stable statistical relationships among securities. Statistical arbitrage at high frequencies is actively used in all liquid securities, including equities, bonds, futures, foreign exchange, etc. Such strategies may also involve classical arbitrage strategies, such as covered interest rate parity in the foreign exchange market , which gives a relationship between the prices of a domestic bond, a bond denominated in a foreign currency, the spot price of the currency, and the price of a forward contract on the currency.
High-frequency trading allows similar arbitrages using models of greater complexity involving many more than four securities. Index arbitrage exploits index tracker funds which are bound to buy and sell large volumes of securities in proportion to their changing weights in indices.
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If a HFT firm is able to access and process information which predicts these changes before the tracker funds do so, they can buy up securities in advance of the trackers and sell them on to them at a profit. Company news in electronic text format is available from many sources including commercial providers like Bloomberg, public news websites, and Twitter feeds. Automated systems can identify company names, keywords and sometimes semantics to make news-based trades before human traders can process the news.
In these strategies, computer scientists rely on speed to gain minuscule advantages in arbitraging price discrepancies in some particular security trading simultaneously on disparate markets. Another aspect of low latency strategy has been the switch from fiber optic to microwave technology for long distance networking.
Especially since , there has been a trend to use microwaves to transmit data across key connections such as the one between New York City and Chicago. High-frequency trading strategies may use properties derived from market data feeds to identify orders that are posted at sub-optimal prices. Such orders may offer a profit to their counterparties that high-frequency traders can try to obtain.
Examples of these features include the age of an order  or the sizes of displayed orders. The effects of algorithmic and high-frequency trading are the subject of ongoing research. High frequency trading causes regulatory concerns as a contributor to market fragility. Members of the financial industry generally claim high-frequency trading substantially improves market liquidity,  narrows bid-offer spread , lowers volatility and makes trading and investing cheaper for other market participants. An academic study  found that, for large-cap stocks and in quiescent markets during periods of "generally rising stock prices", high-frequency trading lowers the cost of trading and increases the informativeness of quotes;  : 31 however, it found "no significant effects for smaller-cap stocks",  : 3 and "it remains an open question whether algorithmic trading and algorithmic liquidity supply are equally beneficial in more turbulent or declining markets.
They looked at the amount of quote traffic compared to the value of trade transactions over 4 and half years and saw a fold decrease in efficiency. This makes it difficult for observers to pre-identify market scenarios where HFT will dampen or amplify price fluctuations. The growing quote traffic compared to trade value could indicate that more firms are trying to profit from cross-market arbitrage techniques that do not add significant value through increased liquidity when measured globally.
Economies of scale in electronic trading contributed to lowering commissions and trade processing fees, and contributed to international mergers and consolidation of financial exchanges. The speeds of computer connections, measured in milliseconds or microseconds, have become important. For example, in the London Stock Exchange bought a technology firm called MillenniumIT and announced plans to implement its Millennium Exchange platform  which they claim has an average latency of microseconds.
Off-the-shelf software currently allows for nanoseconds resolution of timestamps using a GPS clock with nanoseconds precision. The brief but dramatic stock market crash of May 6, was initially thought to have been caused by high-frequency trading.
In the aftermath of the crash, several organizations argued that high-frequency trading was not to blame, and may even have been a major factor in minimizing and partially reversing the Flash Crash. However, after almost five months of investigations, the U. Securities and Exchange Commission SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission CFTC issued a joint report identifying the cause that set off the sequence of events leading to the Flash Crash  and concluding that the actions of high-frequency trading firms contributed to volatility during the crash.
In the Paris-based regulator of the nation European Union, the European Securities and Markets Authority , proposed time standards to span the EU, that would more accurately synchronize trading clocks "to within a nanosecond, or one-billionth of a second" to refine regulation of gateway-to-gateway latency time—"the speed at which trading venues acknowledge an order after receiving a trade request".
Using these more detailed time-stamps, regulators would be better able to distinguish the order in which trade requests are received and executed, to identify market abuse and prevent potential manipulation of European securities markets by traders using advanced, powerful, fast computers and networks. The fastest technologies give traders an advantage over other "slower" investors as they can change prices of the securities they trade.
High-frequency trading comprises many different types of algorithms. High-frequency trading has been the subject of intense public focus and debate since the May 6, Flash Crash. In their joint report on the Flash Crash, the SEC and the CFTC stated that "market makers and other liquidity providers widened their quote spreads, others reduced offered liquidity, and a significant number withdrew completely from the markets"  during the flash crash.
Politicians, regulators, scholars, journalists and market participants have all raised concerns on both sides of the Atlantic. She said, "high frequency trading firms have a tremendous capacity to affect the stability and integrity of the equity markets. Currently, however, high frequency trading firms are subject to very little in the way of obligations either to protect that stability by promoting reasonable price continuity in tough times, or to refrain from exacerbating price volatility.
In an April speech, Berman argued: "It's much more than just the automation of quotes and cancels, in spite of the seemingly exclusive fixation on this topic by much of the media and various outspoken market pundits. I worry that it may be too narrowly focused and myopic. The Chicago Federal Reserve letter of October , titled "How to keep markets safe in an era of high-speed trading", reports on the results of a survey of several dozen financial industry professionals including traders, brokers, and exchanges.
The CFA Institute , a global association of investment professionals, advocated for reforms regarding high-frequency trading,  including:. Exchanges offered a type of order called a "Flash" order on NASDAQ, it was called "Bolt" on the Bats stock exchange that allowed an order to lock the market post at the same price as an order on the other side of the book [ clarification needed ] for a small amount of time 5 milliseconds.
This order type was available to all participants but since HFT's adapted to the changes in market structure more quickly than others, they were able to use it to "jump the queue" and place their orders before other order types were allowed to trade at the given price. Currently, the majority of exchanges do not offer flash trading, or have discontinued it. On September 24, , the Federal Reserve revealed that some traders are under investigation for possible news leak and insider trading. However, the news was released to the public in Washington D.
Octeg violated Nasdaq rules and failed to maintain proper supervision over its stock trading activities. Nasdaq determined the Getco subsidiary lacked reasonable oversight of its algo-driven high-frequency trading. Knight was found to have violated the SEC's market access rule, in effect since to prevent such mistakes. Regulators stated the HFT firm ignored dozens of error messages before its computers sent millions of unintended orders to the market. According to the SEC's order, for at least two years Latour underestimated the amount of risk it was taking on with its trading activities.
By using faulty calculations, Latour managed to buy and sell stocks without holding enough capital. The SEC noted the case is the largest penalty for a violation of the net capital rule. In response to increased regulation, some   have argued that instead of promoting government intervention, it would be more efficient to focus on a solution that mitigates information asymmetries among traders and their backers.
These exchanges offered three variations of controversial "Hide Not Slide"  orders and failed to accurately describe their priority to other orders. The SEC found the exchanges disclosed complete and accurate information about the order types "only to some members, including certain high-frequency trading firms that provided input about how the orders would operate". The SEC stated that UBS failed to properly disclose to all subscribers of its dark pool "the existence of an order type that it pitched almost exclusively to market makers and high-frequency trading firms".
UBS broke the law by accepting and ranking hundreds of millions of orders  priced in increments of less than one cent, which is prohibited under Regulation NMS. The order type called PrimaryPegPlus enabled HFT firms "to place sub-penny-priced orders that jumped ahead of other orders submitted at legal, whole-penny prices". Nasdaq's disciplinary action stated that Citadel "failed to prevent the strategy from sending millions of orders to the exchanges with few or no executions". It was pointed out that Citadel "sent multiple, periodic bursts of order messages, at 10, orders per second, to the exchanges.
This excessive messaging activity, which involved hundreds of thousands of orders for more than 19 million shares, occurred two to three times per day.
Panther's computer algorithms placed and quickly canceled bids and offers in futures contracts including oil, metals, interest rates and foreign currencies, the U. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said. The indictment stated that Coscia devised a high-frequency trading strategy to create a false impression of the available liquidity in the market, "and to fraudulently induce other market participants to react to the deceptive market information he created".
The HFT firm Athena manipulated closing prices commonly used to track stock performance with "high-powered computers, complex algorithms and rapid-fire trades", the SEC said. The regulatory action is one of the first market manipulation cases against a firm engaged in high-frequency trading. Reporting by Bloomberg noted the HFT industry is "besieged by accusations that it cheats slower investors".
Advanced computerized trading platforms and market gateways are becoming standard tools of most types of traders, including high-frequency traders.
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Broker-dealers now compete on routing order flow directly, in the fastest and most efficient manner, to the line handler where it undergoes a strict set of risk filters before hitting the execution venue s. Such performance is achieved with the use of hardware acceleration or even full-hardware processing of incoming market data , in association with high-speed communication protocols, such as 10 Gigabit Ethernet or PCI Express.
More specifically, some companies provide full-hardware appliances based on FPGA technology to obtain sub-microsecond end-to-end market data processing. Buy side traders made efforts to curb predatory HFT strategies. Brad Katsuyama , co-founder of the IEX , led a team that implemented THOR , a securities order-management system that splits large orders into smaller sub-orders that arrive at the same time to all the exchanges through the use of intentional delays.
This largely prevents information leakage in the propagation of orders that high-speed traders can take advantage of. The slowdown promises to impede HST ability "often [to] cancel dozens of orders for every trade they make". Unlike the IEX fixed length delay that retains the temporal ordering of messages as they are received by the platform, the spot FX platforms' speed bumps reorder messages so the first message received is not necessarily that processed for matching first.
In short, the spot FX platforms' speed bumps seek to reduce the benefit of a participant being faster than others, as has been described in various academic papers. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Financial market participants Credit unions Insurance companies Investment banks Investment funds Pension funds Prime brokers Trusts Finance Financial market Participants Corporate finance Personal finance Public finance Banks and banking Financial regulation Fund governance In financial markets, high-frequency trading HFT is a type of algorithmic trading characterized by high speeds, high turnover rates, and high order-to-trade ratios that leverages high-frequency financial data and electronic trading tools.
Main article: Market maker.
Further information: Quote stuffing. For other uses, see Ticker tape disambiguation. Main article: Flash Crash. Main article: Quote stuffing. Main articles: Spoofing finance and Layering finance. Main article: Market manipulation. Retrieved 27 June Huffington Post. Retrieved August 15, The New York Times. Hoboken: Wiley. April 21, Retrieved September 10, The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 12, In , Jeffery joined Refco Singapore.
Jeffery joined CMC in April He was responsible for the content and presentation of CMC's educational programmes. Has the bear market ended? Is the rebound lasting? Everybody wants an answer but nobody can provide one with a good degree of confidence. While fundamental analysis is notoriously weak when it comes to market timing decisions and price target forecasts, technical analysis is equally timid in providing any concrete answers to the above fundamentally important questions for market participants.
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