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Are market makers uninformed and passive? Signing trades in the absence of quotes


  • Michel Van der Wel
  • Albert J. Menkveld
  • Asani Sarkar


We develop a new likelihood-based approach to signing trades in the absence of quotes. This approach is equally efficient as the existing Markov-chain Monte Carlo methods, but more than ten times faster. It can address the occurrence of multiple trades at the same time and allows for analysis of settings in which trade times are observed with noise. We apply this method to a high-frequency data set of thirty-year U.S. Treasury futures to investigate the role of the market maker. Most theory characterizes the market maker as an uninformed, passive supplier of liquidity. Our findings suggest, however, that some market makers actively demand liquidity for a substantial part of the day and that they are informed speculators

Suggested Citation

  • Michel Van der Wel & Albert J. Menkveld & Asani Sarkar, 2009. "Are market makers uninformed and passive? Signing trades in the absence of quotes," Staff Reports 395, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:395

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bjonnes, Geir Hoidal & Rime, Dagfinn, 2005. "Dealer behavior and trading systems in foreign exchange markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 571-605, March.
    2. Chakravarty, Sugato & Li, Kai, 2003. "An examination of own account trading by dual traders in futures markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 375-397, August.
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    4. Ederington, Louis H & Lee, Jae Ha, 1993. " How Markets Process Information: News Releases and Volatility," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(4), pages 1161-1191, September.
    5. Glosten, Lawrence R. & Milgrom, Paul R., 1985. "Bid, ask and transaction prices in a specialist market with heterogeneously informed traders," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 71-100, March.
    6. Panayides, Marios A., 2007. "Affirmative obligations and market making with inventory," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 513-542, November.
    7. Anand, Amber & Subrahmanyam, Avanidhar, 2008. "Information and the Intermediary: Are Market Intermediaries Informed Traders in Electronic Markets?," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(01), pages 1-28, March.
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    10. Manaster, Steven & Mann, Steven C, 1996. "Life in the Pits: Competitive Market Making and Inventory Control," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 9(3), pages 953-975.
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    12. Lyons, Richard K., 1997. "A simultaneous trade model of the foreign exchange hot potato," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-4), pages 275-298, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Opschoor, Anne & Taylor, Nick & van der Wel, Michel & van Dijk, Dick, 2014. "Order flow and volatility: An empirical investigation," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 185-201.

    More about this item


    Electronic trading of securities ; Liquidity (Economics) ; Speculation ; Futures;

    JEL classification:

    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

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