How Rigged Are Stock Markets? Evidence from Microsecond Timestamps (by Robert P. Bartlett and Justin McCrary)

How Rigged are Stock Markets? Evidence from Microsecond Timestamps

Robert P. Bartlett III

University of California, Berkeley – School of Law; University of California, Berkeley – Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the Economy

Justin McCrary

University of California, Berkeley; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

July 20, 2016


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 $0.0003 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.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 51

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