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Day traders moving away from high-frequency, computer-driven strategies
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Day traders moving away from high-frequency, computer-driven strategies

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Day traders moving away from high-frequency, computer-driven strategies

During May 2010, the stock exchange experienced one of its fastest, and worst, crashes, when the Dow Jones Industry Average fell 600 points in less than 10 minutes. Referred as to the "flash crash," many experts believed this was a result of high-speed computers.
Now, a year later, many companies that had previously used these high-frequency day trading strategies have slowed their use, cognizant of last year's events. Now, the stock market has taken further hits, as trading volume and volatility levels have both plummeted. This fact also had deterred high-frequency traders from returning.
According to Will Mechem, a managing partner at a high-frequency trading firm, these previous rapid-trading strategies "have less to work with, so they don't participate, which creates less volume. This would seem to be a vicious cycle."
During the initial months of 2011, the trading volume on the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ Stock Market are down 15 percent year-over-year, with an average of 6.3 billion shares a day that has been declining each month. During April, the average fell to 5.8 billion shares - the lowest since May 2008.
This volume decline is also being attributed to fewer swings in stock prices, which were commonplace between 2008 and 2010. However, these fewer swings have deterred high-frequency traders from returning, as their strategies rely on building profits from the small discrepancies found between the buy and sell orders on a daily basis.
One company estimates that high-frequency traders made between 5 and 7.5 cents on the U.S. stock market, on average, per 100 trades in 2010, which is down from 10 to 15 cents in 2008.

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