Virtu Financial Inc's shares opened for trading at $23 in its first day of trading as a publicly traded company on Thursday. The high-frequency trading firm, which is the first high-frequency trading shop to go public, priced its shares at $19 a share late Wednesday, at the high end of a $17-to-$19 range targeted by the company's stock underwriters. Virtu's stock opened 21% higher than its pricing level on Wednesday, selling 16.5 million shares, which give it a valuation of more than $2.6 billion. The company's closely followed initial public offering had been stalled last year after a controversial book, "Flash Boys," written by Michael Lewis, cast a negative light on the HFT industry, which has been characterized as traders using high-octane computers to execute trades in the blink of an eye.
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