Murky Dangers in Dark Pools and High-Frequency Trading

Murky Dangers in Dark Pools and High-Frequency TradingImagine you’re doing the grocery shopping. A glance at your Woolies iPhone app suggests you’re out of Weet-Bix, priced at $5.49 a box. So you wander over to the cereal aisle to grab one.

By the time you get there, a funny thing has happened. The price is now $5.50. Still, it’s only 1¢ – no point worrying about such a small amount. You put the box in your trolley and move on.

What you don’t know is that a bunch of computer geeks have developed a system to track your iPhone activity. Once they saw you check the Weet-Bix price on your phone, they quickly bought a box from Woolies for the price you saw and relisted it at $5.50.

As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald’s Richard Livingston, if such a system existed, it would be called ”high-frequency shopping’‘. The geeks invest a small fortune in the computer system and pay big bucks to Woolies for the license to operate it on the premises. Both parties insist a ”free market” should allow the practice and, anyway, they’re improving Weet-Bix liquidity. Everyone’s a winner!

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