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April 02, 2014

Fast Money

By CREW Staff

high speed tradingOn Sunday night, 60 Minutes ran a report on the complex world of high frequency trading. The segment was based on Michael Lewis’ new book, Flash Boys, which details how a handful of powerful Wall Street insiders use incredibly fast trading technology to “rig” the stock market.

Mr. Lewis explained how these firms often use their superior technology to “front-run” competitors by placing orders milliseconds before other big investors, causing the stock price to go up.

High frequency trading (HFT) has come under scrutiny for other reasons as well. Many critics argue HFT contributes to market instability and may have been responsible for flash crashes – rapid, inexplicable plunges in the stock market.

Last year, CREW released its report “Rise of the Machines,” which detailed how increasing scrutiny from government regulators prompted the industry’s campaign contributions and lobbying spending to skyrocket.

Regulators are looking into slowing down high frequency traders, which dominate the markets. Kudos to Michael Lewis and 60 Minutes for showing the world what’s really going on.

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