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Michael Lewis: Rigged markets an 'accidental conspiracy'

Michael Lewis: HFT traders exploit system
Michael Lewis: HFT traders exploit system

Here's what "Flash Boys" author Michael Lewis told CNBC's "Power Lunch" on Tuesday about his contention that the markets are "rigged" by high-frequency trading.

"The Flash Boys, the people at the center of the story, they see that the markets have gotten rigged. ... They think regulation is unlikely to cure the problem, the regulators are never going to keep up with Wall Street and, and they build a market-based solution.

"It's sort of like let's build the one fair exchange. What they've done is create a war between investors, people whose money is being mishandled, and the Wall Street firms that are mishandling it, and let's see if we can just let the market solve the problem."

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Lewis said that the problems in the market structure "screw-up" were "unintended consequences" from regulations introduced in 2007.

"It's an accidental conspiracy," Lewis said.

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"I think the high-frequency traders are like exploiting a system that's got these glitches in it, and they found loopholes to jump through. It's sort of like blaming the lion for eating the antelope that they do what they do," he added. "The problem is the opportunities of predation that they've been given, and they've been given them in part because the exchanges have created these unequal playing fields."

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—By CNBC.com