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Crapshoot Investing: How Tech-Savvy Traders and Clueless Regulators Turned the Stock Market into a Casino by Jim McTague

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14. Evil Geniuses?

There was nothing particularly flashy about high-frequency traders. A typical proprietary shop consisted of computer jocks, some math and physics wonks, and a handful of old-fashioned traders, many who had cut their teeth either in the push and shove and throat-scraping roar of the commodities and options trading pits in Chicago or on the proprietary trading desks of big New York banks.

One thing that high-frequency traders had in common was a preference for the covert life. They preferred life in the shadows as opposed to life in the limelight because they guarded their trading secrets as carefully as anglers protect their favorite fishing holes. Now, in the wake of the Flash Crash, a publicity spotlight had been aimed at ...

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