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In electronic financial markets, algorithmic trading refers to the use of computer programs to automate one or more stages of the trading process: pretrade analysis (data analysis), trading signal generation (buy and sell recommendations), and trade execution. Trade execution is further divided into agency/broker execution (when a system optimizes the execution of a trade on behalf of a client) and principal/proprietary trading (where an institution trades on its own account). Each stage of this trading process can be conducted by humans, by humans and algorithms, or fully by algorithms.
Date of Publication: Nov. 2011