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Speed, algorithmic trading, and market quality around macroeconomic news announcements

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  • Scholtus, Martin
  • van Dijk, Dick
  • Frijns, Bart

Abstract

This paper documents that speed is crucially important for high-frequency trading strategies based on U.S. macroeconomic news releases. Using order-level data on the highly liquid S&P 500 ETF traded on NASDAQ from January 6, 2009 to December 12, 2011, we find that a delay of 300ms or more significantly reduces returns of news-based trading strategies. This reduction is greater for high impact news and on days with high volatility. In addition, we assess the effect of algorithmic trading on market quality around macroeconomic news. In the minute following a macroeconomic news arrival, algorithmic activity increases trading volume and depth at the best quotes, but also increases volatility and leads to a drop in overall depth. Quoted half-spreads decrease (increase) when we measure algorithmic trading over the full (top of the) order book.

Suggested Citation

  • Scholtus, Martin & van Dijk, Dick & Frijns, Bart, 2014. "Speed, algorithmic trading, and market quality around macroeconomic news announcements," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 89-105.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:38:y:2014:i:c:p:89-105
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jbankfin.2013.09.016
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Macroeconomic news; High-frequency trading; Latency costs; Market activity; Event-based trading;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading

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