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High Frequency Quoting: Short-Term Volatility in Bids and Offers

Joel Hasbrouck

New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance

August 20, 2013

High-frequency changes, reversals, and oscillations induce volatility in a market’s bid and offer quotes. This volatility degrades the informational content of the quotes, exacerbates execution price risk for marketable orders, and impairs the reliability of the quotes as reference marks for the pricing of dark trades. This paper examines variance on time scales as short as fifty milliseconds for the National Best Bid and Offer (NBBO) in the US equity market. On average, in a 2011 sample, NBBO variance at the fifty millisecond time scale is approximately four times larger than can be attributed to long-term fundamental price variance. The historical picture over 2001-2011 is complex. The average volatility has not increased between 2001 and 2011, but its nature has changed. In the earlier years quote volatility is due to large spikes in bids and offers; in later years, to oscillations of low amplitude. The highest quote volatilities arise during the 2004-2006 period corresponding to the phase-in of Reg NMS and the transition to electronic trading.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 49

Keywords: high frequency trading, US equities, quotes, volatility

JEL Classification: G10, G19

working papers series

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Date posted: March 24, 2013 ; Last revised: August 23, 2013

Suggested Citation

Hasbrouck, Joel, High Frequency Quoting: Short-Term Volatility in Bids and Offers (August 20, 2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2237499 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2237499

Contact Information

Joel Hasbrouck (Contact Author)
New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance ( email )
44 West 4th Street
MEC Suite 9-190, Mail Code 0268
New York, NY 10012-1126
United States
212-998-0310 (Phone)
212-995-4233 (Fax)
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