Posted by: jhamon | August 3, 2009

High Frequency Trading Intro

I’ve blogged here a little about High Frequency Trading and the noise that it adds to the trading environment.  Joe Saluzzi’s written copiously and more authoritatively about this.

Friend and associate Chris H (thanks!) sent along this intro from the Wall Street Journal on HFT.  I’ve reproduced just a portion here:

High-frequency trading, long an obscure corner of the market, has leapt into the spotlight this year. Wildly successful in 2008, high-frequency traders are the talk of Wall Street, attracting big bucks and some unwanted attention. Concerns that some traders are taking advantage of less fleet-footed investors has drawn the attention of regulators and members of Congress. The following is an explanation of the core issues, based on interviews with industry participants and regulators.

Q: What is high-frequency trading?

A: Definitions differ, but at its most basic, high-frequency trading implies speed: Using supercomputers, firms make trades in a matter of microseconds, or one-millionth of a second. Goals vary. Some trading firms try to catch fleeting moves in everything from stocks to currencies to commodities. They hunt for “signals,” such as the movement of interest rates, that indicate which way parts of the market may move in short periods. Some try to find ways to take advantage of subtle quirks in the infrastructure of trading.

Other firms are “market makers,” providing securities on each side of a buy and sell order. Some firms trade on signals and make markets.

Q: How do players make money in high-frequency trades?

A: Many high-frequency traders collect tiny gains, often measured in pennies, on short-term market gyrations. They hunt for temporary “inefficiencies” in the market and trade in ways that can make them money before the brief distortions go away.

Q: Why is everyone talking about high-frequency trading?

A: In the trading community, high-frequency has drawn interest because it was a wildly successful strategy last year. More recently, it made headlines when a former Goldman Sachs employee was charged by federal prosecutors with stealing trade secrets from the firm’s high-frequency platform.

Also grabbing attention are the volume numbers. High-frequency trading now accounts for more than half of all stock-trading volume in the U.S. It also generates more revenue for exchanges. NYSE Euronext, owner of the New York Stock Exchange, is building a data center to cater to high-speed traders.

Read the rest here.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: