WSJ: Meet Getco, High-Frequency Trade King

August 27, 2009 at 11:14 am  ·  Category: Business Culture and Current Events, Market Commentary

One of the biggest players in the hot area of high-frequency trading is one of the least known.

Getco LLC, a private company with fewer than 250 employees, often accounts for 10% to 20% of the daily trading volume of many U.S. stocks, the company has said, including highly traded names such as General Electric Co., Oracle Corp. and Google Inc.

Since its founding a decade ago, the firm has risen to become one of the five biggest traders measured by volume in stocks and other instruments that trade electronically on exchanges, such as Treasury bonds and currency futures, according to firm executives, who spoke with the Journal this week, and other people in the industry.

“They are probably the biggest market maker in the U.S. stock market,” said Justin Schack, a vice president at Rosenblatt Securities Inc. who closely tracks high-frequency trading.  A market maker is a firm that always stands ready to buy or sell a stock.

High-frequency trading, in which traders use powerful computers and algorithms to trade at lightning-fast speeds, has grabbed attention after it produced stellar results during the financial crisis and amid estimates that it now accounts for more than half of U.S. daily stock trading.

“Meet Getco, High-Frequency Trade King” (subscription required), The Wall Street Journal, August 27, C1

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