Most people’s confidence in the stock market has taken a hit over the last few years and more and more trades are dominated by high frequency trading (HFT). Morgan Stanley recently reported that now machines account for over 84% of the market. This accounts for the flash crashes but what would happen if the plug was pulled overnight when 84% of trades are computer programes.

Morgan Stanley has just shown (via the Financial Times) that the percentage of high frequency trading in the stock market has skyrocketed to 84%:

Trading by “real” investors is taking up the smallest share of US stock market volumes [since Morgan Stanley  started keeping track 10 years ago.]

The findings highlight how US trading activity is increasingly being fuelled by fast turnover of shares by independent firms and the market-making desks of brokerages, many using high-frequency trading engines. [actually all of the market-making desks are using it.]


The proportion of US trading activity represented by buy and sell orders from mutual funds, hedge funds, pensions and brokerages, referred to as “real money” or institutional investors, accounted for just 16 per cent of total market volume in the form of buying, and 13 per cent via selling in the final quarter of last year, according to analysis by Morgan Stanley’s Quantitative and Derivative Strategies group.

It’s not just the U.S. High frequency trading dominates in the U.K. as well.


Source: Ritholtz