Shares of high-speed trading company Virtu Financial spike 17 percent in market debut

Markets Associated Press

Shares of high-speed trading company Virtu Financial Inc. have risen 17 percent in their stock market debut Thursday.

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The New York company uses high-speed computers to buy and sell stocks, bonds and other assets. So-called high-frequency trading firms look to get a jump on competitors by using computers to analyze market data, and executing buy and sell orders in milliseconds. Complex super-fast computers and algorithms now account for a majority of stock trading volume.

Virtu raised about $314.1 million in its initial public offering, selling 16.5 million shares at $19 per share, the high point of its expected range.

High-speed trading has been under scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and other agencies. A 2014 book, "Flash Boys" by Michael Lewis, focused on the practice's potential to give some firms an unfair advantage.

Virtu's shares are listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "VIRT." They rose $3.33 to $22.33 in midday trading Thursday and crossed $23 in earlier trading.