Firm paying $1M in SEC's first manipulation case against high-speed trading firm

MarketsAssociated Press

A firm accused of fraud is paying a $1 million penalty in what federal regulators say is the first case of market manipulation brought against a high-speed trading firm.

The Securities and Exchange Commission also censured Athena Capital Research, which it says used a trading algorithm code named "Gravy" to manipulate the closing prices of thousands of stocks on the Nasdaq market. Athena placed a large number of rapid trades in the final two seconds of nearly every trading day over six months, the SEC says.

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They were the first market-manipulation charges against a firm engaged in the super-fast electronic trading that now dominate the U.S. securities markets.

New York-based Athena neither admitted nor denied the allegations under the settlement with the SEC.