Is the market rigged?

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HFT, Michael Lewis and CNBC Shoutfests – What Does it Mean for Traders?

HFT or “high frequency trading” has gotten a bad rap over the last few years, including from me.

But the HFT debate has moved out of the shadows and into the bright lights as financial author Michael Lewis has taken to the airwaves to promote his new book, Flash Boys, which explores the world of high frequency trading and the idea that the market is “rigged.”

Understandably, many of those who work on Wall Street have gotten defensive — including the William O’Brien, the CEO of the electronic stock exchange BATS — and take issue with the idea that HFT rigs the market. Some have even accused Michael Lewis of writing the book with a hidden agenda, only talking to sources who gave him the story he wanted to hear.

All that sentiment spilled over in a CNBC video for the ages on Tuesday, which devolved into a screaming match about HFT, the Michael Lewis book Flash Boys and the nature of Wall Street for big players and small players alike.

Check out the accompanying video.

Jeff Reeves is the editor of and the author of The Frugal Investor’s Guide to Finding Great Stocks. Write him at or follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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