Algorithmic trading is a form of computerized trading in which computerized instructions govern trade decisions made by computers based on multiple streams of data that meet specified criteria, and trade orders made based on them are automatically executed.
Algorithmic trading is an extremely efficient trading technique that minimizes transaction costs and saves time for investors, yet investors should remain cognizant of any associated risks when undertaking this form of investing.
Algorithms are coded programs
Algorithms are coded programs written by quantitative traders that can instantly place orders.
Financial trading firms such as Credit Suisse, Hudson River Trading and Citadel Securities use complex mathematical models that execute trades within microseconds.
Automated trading is a fast and accurate approach that reduces human error while simultaneously placing trades at optimal prices without emotions playing into play.
However, in volatile conditions it can be risky. When multiple bulk orders are sent out at once to the market it could result in rapid price changes and liquidity depletion.
Algorithmic trading refers to executing large orders using pre-programmed trading instructions that account for time, price and volume. These algorithms are known as algos; popular algos include Percentage of Volume Pegged VWAP TWAP.
They are based on mathematical principles
Algorithms are mathematical principles that enable computer programs to execute complex tasks quickly and effortlessly, making life easier for engineers and programmers. Engineers utilize algorithms for image recognition, product recommendations, content curation and content curation applications among others.
Financial institutions use algorithms to implement trading strategies. These algorithms can identify patterns in market data and form strategies which can lead to lucrative results.
Algorithmic trading offers several distinct advantages over manual trading methods, including its ability to eliminate mistakes caused by emotional biases and quickly calculate trade orders accurately and promptly.
Algorithms may vary in complexity depending on the requirements of a trading firm, from complex programs that slow buying and selling down by microseconds (one millionth of a second), to simpler strategies designed specifically to suit high-speed traders. When applied in high-speed environments, complex algorithms can slow purchasing and selling significantly compared to simpler versions that run more quickly – something which high-speed trading firms rely on less.
They are efficient
Algorithmic trading can be an invaluable asset to both day traders and investors, enabling you to place trades at optimal prices, reduce transaction costs, and maximize potential profits.
By employing this strategy, a computer program monitors stock prices and automatically places buy and sell orders when defined conditions are met. This reduces the need for human traders to monitor live prices or manually place trades.
Algorithms offer another advantage of reduced labor expenses and faster decision making and trade execution than humans can provide, helping reduce trading costs through reduced decision time and execution speed.
However, trading algorithms should be seen as an unpredictable form of investing due to their unreliability and potential market crashes – such as those seen during 2010’s “flash crash”, where numerous stocks dropped suddenly and drastically in a short period of time.
They are reliable
Algorithms cannot replace human intuition and experience, but they can be extremely useful tools in many trading situations. For instance, arbitrage situations and taking advantage of momentary price differences between markets can benefit greatly from algorithm-aided trading strategies.
Algorithmic trading does present risks and challenges. System errors, network connectivity issues, time lags and imperfect algorithms may all lead to losses for traders using algorithmic trading strategies.
As algo trading can be vulnerable to flash crashes if market conditions suddenly shift, it is crucial that any algorithms used on live accounts undergo thorough testing and validation prior to being deployed live.
Institutional investors such as super funds and insurance companies rely on execution algorithms to place orders efficiently. This involves breaking a large order up into smaller parts that are then strategically and gradually submitted to the market in order to minimise transaction costs and achieve optimal prices.