NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

How Rigged Are Stock Markets?: Evidence From Microsecond Timestamps

Robert P. Bartlett, III, Justin McCrary

NBER Working Paper No. 22551
Issued in August 2016
NBER Program(s):Asset Pricing, Corporate Finance, , Law and Economics

We use new timestamp data from the two Securities Information Processors (SIPs) to examine SIP reporting latencies for quote and trade reports. Reporting latencies average 1.13 milliseconds for quotes and 22.84 milliseconds for trades. Despite these latencies, liquidity-taking orders gain on average $0.0002 per share when priced at the SIP-reported national best bid or offer (NBBO) rather than the NBBO calculated using exchanges’ direct data feeds. Trading surrounding SIP-priced trades shows little evidence that fast traders initiate these liquidity-taking orders to pick-off stale quotes. These findings contradict claims that fast traders systematically exploit traders who transact at the SIP NBBO.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w22551

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