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Marketwired to stop selling to high-frequency traders

Marketwired web page
Source: Marketwired
Marketwired web page

Marketwired, a company that publishes and distributes corporate earnings and other market-moving news releases, said on Wednesday it will no longer sell them directly to high-frequency trading companies.

The move comes after discussions with the New York attorney general's office, according to a person familiar with the matter, and follows a similar decision by Berkshire Hathaway's Business Wire.

Marketwired said it would no longer provide its distribution service to high frequency trading firms to "eliminate any perceived advantages gained through technology by certain customers,'' according to a statement obtained by Reuters.

(Read more: How to kill high-frequency trading)

A spokesman for the New York Attorney General declined comment.

The decision is the latest response to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's probe of elite traders gaining early access to market-moving information. On Tuesday, Schneiderman announced he was probing services provided by U.S. stock exchanges and alternative trading venues that may give advantages to high-frequency traders.

Last month, Business Wire agreed to stop the sale of their releases to high-frequency trading companies after discussions with Schneiderman. Business Wire's chairwoman, Cathy Baron Tamraz, said the company consulted with Warren Buffett, Berkshire's chairman and decided the practice could hurt the company's reputation, not because traders got a time advantage.

Business Wire and Marketwired distribute hundreds of thousands of corporate press releases a year, some inconsequential, others regulatory filings that push a stock higher or lower.

(Read more: New York attorney general to probe high-frequency trading)

Marketwired is majority-owned by Omers, a Toronto, Canada-based private equity firm.

Schneiderman also has sought to level the playing field for investors in regard to early access to analyst and consumer sentiment. BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, agreed to end its analyst survey program worldwide as part of an agreement with the Attorney General's office.

Last year, Thomson Reuters agreed to suspend its early release of the widely watched Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment data to a small group of clients.

—By Reuters