Ultra-fast activity and intraday market quality
This paper studies the intraday relationship between ultra-fast machine-driven activity (UFA) and market quality in automated equity markets. We find that higher UFA is associated with lower intraday market quality (greater quoted and effective spreads and lower depth). This effect is economically significant, and robust to different specifications, endogeneity tests, and alternative measures of UFA. Our results hold after controlling for volatility, periods of unusually high UFA (a proxy for quote stuffing), and periods where UFA is primarily driven by fleeting orders inside the spread (a proxy for spoofing and competition between liquidity providers).