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Do high-frequency traders anticipate buying and selling pressure?

Journal

Management Science

Subject

Finance

Authors / Editors

Hirschey N H

Publication Year

2020

Abstract

This study provides evidence that high-frequency traders (HFTs) identify patterns in past trades and orders that allow them to anticipate and trade ahead of other investors’ order flow. Specifically, HFTs’ aggressive purchases and sales lead those of other investors, and this effect is stronger at times when it is more difficult for non-HFTs to disguise their order flow. Consistent with some HFTs being more skilled or more focused on anticipatory strategies, I show that trades from a subset of HFTs consistently predict non-HFT order flow the best. The results are not explained by HFTs reacting faster to news or past returns, by contrarian or trend-chasing behavior by non-HFTs, or by trader misclassification. These findings support the existence of an anticipatory trading channel through which HFTs increase non-HFT trading costs.

Keywords

High-frequency traders; Trading; Information acquisition; Liquidity; Microstructure

Available on ECCH

No


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