The Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday charged a high-frequency trading firm for placing a large number of "aggressive, rapid-fire trades" in the final two seconds of almost every trading day, allegedly to manipulate thousands of Nasdaq-listed stocks. The SEC said Athena Capital Research agreed to pay a $1 million fine to settle the charges and did not admit or deny the findings. The manipulative trading the SEC alleged occurred from June to December 2009 and made up more than 70% of the total Nasdaq trading volume of the affected stocks in the seconds before the market close.
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