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Visualizing the insane complexity of a half second of stock trading

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Sal Cangeloso
May 9, 2013

Johnson & Johnson is a longstanding company that has a blue chip stock traded on the NY Stock Exchange. The firm has a market capitalization of $239.70 billion, which means it’s a rather large entity even for a publicly traded company.

JNJ’s average trading volume is 9,694,550, which means that about 10 million of the company’s shares are traded per day. This doesn’t mean that its shares are traded 9.6M times per day but, even so, they get traded very frequently. This video is a visualization that shows just how many transactions can happen in just one half of a second. As you might has guessed, it’s a lot.

The video shows the trades happening each millisecond from 9:37:56:125 to 9:37:56:655 on Thursday May 2, 2013. That’s 530 milliseconds, or just over a half a second. During that time countless (well, not for computers) high-frequency trades were made, though some of those were probably what we consider to be conventional transactions, with deals as bland as employees cashing in their bonuses and people putting their money into a dividend-bearing stock so they could save for retirement.

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This article was posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 11:28 am

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