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US regulators probe high-speed trading companies - WSJ

March 18 (Reuters) - The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is investigating deals between large high-speed traders and the two futures-exchange operators - CME Group Inc and IntercontinentalExchange Group Inc, the Wall Street Journal reported citing people familiar with the matter.

The Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement officials are also investigating whether stock exchanges provide advantages to certain clients, including high-frequency traders, by designing software programs that can give preferential treatment to their orders, the Journal reported.

The CFTC and SEC were not immediately available for comment.

The CFTC probe is focused on incentive programs that give high-volume trading firms financial benefits such as discounts on fees the exchanges charge to execute trades, the Journal said. (http://link.reuters.com/zuc77v)

The companies in focus are Virtu Financial Inc, which plans to go public later this year, and Jump Trading LLC, the Journal said.

The two exchanges and the high-speed traders were not available for comment outside regular U.S. business hours.

New York state's attorney general Eric Schneiderman on Tuesday called for tougher regulation of stock exchanges and alternative trading platforms that provide high-frequency traders with unfair technological advantages that give them early access to key data.

(Reporting by Supriya Kurane and Chris Peters in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)