High-speed trading firms — the lightening-quick, computerized companies that have risen in the last decade to dominate the nations’ stock market — are now struggling to hold onto $1.25 billion this year, down 35 percent from last year and 74 percent from the peak of a year ago, according to estimates from the brokerage firm Rosenblatt Securities.
While no official data is available about the employment at the high-speed firms, interviews with more than a dozen industry participants suggest that firms large and small have been cutting staff, and in some cases have shut down. The firms also account for a declining percentage of a shrinking pool of stock trading, from 61 percent three years ago to 51 percent now.
It is a swift reversal for trading firms that have often looked like profit machines in the eyes of other investors, thanks to high-powered software and superfast data connections that can take advantage of small changes in the price of a stock. High-speed trading is far from disappearing from the market, but the struggles facing these firms are welcomed by some traditional traders and investors who have viewed the firms as formidable rivals, or worse, market manipulators that create sudden increases and drops in share prices. Peter Costa, a longtime trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, said the fading presence of the firms could “restore some order to stock markets”.
Regulators are still trying to understand whether the rise of high-speed firms has been a net benefit or loss for investors, so it is hard to say how the decline of these firms will affect the markets. Many market experts have argued that the technical problems that have recently hit the market have been a result of a broader trend of the market splintering into dozens of automated trading services and a lack of human oversight.
11. It is indicated in the first paragraph that _______.
A. the strength of high-speed trading firms is the computerization
B. the profits of high-speed trading are declining in recent years
C. all the high-speed firms are no longer profitable
D. every high-speed trader can make more money than the traditional traders
12. According to the first two paragraphs, the decline of high-speed trading firms is characterized by _______.
A. struggling to make any profits
B. the shrink of stock trading market
C. the reduction of profits and employee numbers
D. no longer being active in the nation’s stock market
13. The phrase “swift reversal” most probably refers to _______.
A. high-powered software and superfast data connections
B. new investors becoming profit machines
C. taking in charge of the price of a stock
D. not making huge profits as before
14. Which of the following would Peter Costa most probably agree on?
A. Decline of high-speed firms is good for proper market functioning.
B. Traditional traders and investors are afraid of high-speed firms.
C. Stock markets need the presence of high-speed trading firms.
D. High-speed trading firms could bring order to stock markets.
15. Which of the following is true according to the last paragraph?
A. Regulators think the prospect of high-speed firms is promising.
B. The influence of the decline of high-speed firms is not certain.
C. The stock markets are under strong oversight.
D. The stock markets are confident to overcome the technical problems.