High-frequency trading. Is it a nuisance hell-bent on squeezing as much profit as possible while adding no value to society writ large? Or does it provide markets with unprecedented liquidity, acting as a kind of stabilizer?
Either way, now it has lasers.
Here’s a story from the Wall Street Journal’s Scott Patterson on Anova, a company working to edge closer to “zero” — as in, zero seconds between when crucial information becomes available (e.g., the Fed tapers!) and when the computer knows to execute a trade. From the Journal:
In March, a small Chicago communications company plans to switch on an array of laser devices linking the New York Stock Exchange’s data center in Mahwah, N.J., with the Nasdaq Stock Market’s data center in another New Jersey community, Carteret.
The lasers, perched atop high-rise apartment buildings, towers and office complexes along the 35-mile stretch between the communities, are the first phase of a grid intended to link nearly all U.S. stock exchanges this way, zipping market data and rapid-fire trades.
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