High-frequency traders like their targets big, with share prices cheap (but not too cheap) and with a fairly low level of volatility.
That's according to a study published Tuesday on Investopedia, which charted 24 companies that meet metrics HFT firms have favored historically. The study, authored by Elvis Picardo, portfolio manager at Global Securities in Canada, utilizes trading data and a 2009 study from Woodbine Associates that also helped identify what high-speed participants look for in a company.
HFT firms use algorithms to capitalize on often-tiny moves in stock prices. They see to beat other traders to the punch, finding inefficiencies in prices that lead to big gains.
Contrary to some belief, HFT traders are different from their counterparts on the momentum who look for lightly traded shares that can move quickly. HFT programs in fact require high volumes in order to executive the volume needed to generate profits.
Picardo used three criteria to determine stocks that best fit the bill: price below $50, low volatility (beta values below 1.5) and market capitalization of at least $50 billion.