Algorithmic Trading: An Introduction and How It Works


Algorithmic trading uses complex formulas and high-speed computers to make trading decisions. This guide will introduce you to the basics of algorithmic trading and how it works.

Understanding Algorithmic Trading

Algorithmic trading is a method of executing orders using automated pre-programmed trading instructions considering variables such as time, price, and volume. This type of trading was developed so traders can respond to market opportunities faster than humans can.

Types of Algorithmic Trading Strategies

  • Trend Following Strategies: These algorithms follow trends such as moving averages, channel breakouts, price level movements, and related technical indicators.
  • Arbitrage Opportunities: Buying a dual-listed stock at a lower price in one market and selling it at a higher price in another market offers the price differential as risk-free profit or arbitrage.
  • Index Fund Rebalancing: Index funds have defined periods of rebalancing to bring their holdings to par with their respective benchmark indices.
  • Mean Reversion: This strategy assumes that the price of a stock will revert to its mean over time. It is based on the concept of price elasticity and price extremes.

Benefits of Algorithmic Trading

Algorithmic trading provides various benefits, including speed and precision, reduced costs, and the ability to backtest strategies. However, it also comes with risks such as system failures and lack of oversight.


Do I need a background in programming to do algorithmic trading?
While having a background in programming can be beneficial in creating more complex strategies, there are now platforms available that provide pre-built algorithms or enable traders to create their own with simple programming knowledge.
Is algorithmic trading only for big financial institutions?
While larger financial institutions have been the early adopters of algorithmic trading, the technology is now more accessible to smaller and retail traders thanks to the proliferation of trading platforms and the democratization of technology.


Algorithmic trading offers a sophisticated and efficient way to execute trading strategies. By understanding how it works, traders can potentially leverage technology to increase their trading success.


The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial or investment advice. It is always recommended to conduct thorough research and consult with a professional advisor before making any trading decisions.

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