Ultrafast Trading

DEFINITION of 'Ultrafast Trading'

A lucrative and highly competitive method of stock trading that uses special software that works in milliseconds to make trades in reaction to market changes. This type of trading has been criticized for worsening stock swings and for unfairly manipulating stock prices. The software's advocates say it improves trading efficiency.

Also known as "high frequency trading."

BREAKING DOWN 'Ultrafast Trading'

Ultrafast trading has also given rise to civil and criminal lawsuits because the highly paid programmers hired by Wall Street firms to develop the software, which takes years and costs millions in salaries alone, are believed to take the code with them when they switch companies, which is a great liablity to their former employers.