News In Brief


Paddy Hirsch Aug 12, 2011

The stock market’s fastest electronic firms boosted trading threefold during the rout of August 1-10, Bloomberg reports.

Gary Wedbush, executive vice president and head of capital markets at Wedbush Securities, told Bloomberg his firm was seeing a tremendous amount of high-frequency trading.

“Their business is a trading business, and volatility creates far more opportunities. Some of their algorithms and automated systems are trading two, three or five times as many shares as they would have in a more normalized volatility environment,” Wedbush said.

Wedbush is one of the biggest execution and clearing brokers catering to high-speed firms.

High-frequency trading is a technique that relies on the rapid and automated placement of orders, many of which are immediately updated or canceled, as part of strategies such as market making and statistical arbitrage and tactics based on momentum. It accounted for about 53 percent of trading earlier this year, down from 61 percent in 2009, according to Tabb Group LLC, a New York-based financial industry research firm. In 2006 it was 26 percent of the market, Tabb said.

For an explainer on what high-frequency trading is, check out my Whiteboard video.

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