Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Op art: 10 seconds of Apple trades after Q3 earnings report

July 27, 2012: 7:21 AM ET

The bell rang Wednesday morning, and the high-frequency computers had a field day

2,178 quotes and 1,104 trades in 10 seconds, 25 milliseconds. Click to enlarge. Source: NANEX

FORTUNE -- The image above shows real-time data for the first 10 seconds of trading in Apple (AAPL) starting at 9:30 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday, July 25, the first chance the full NASDAQ had to react to Apple's disappointing Q3 earnings report.

It was created by NANEX using tools developed to analyze the 2010 flash crash.

To give you some context, what you are seeing is the bottom of the vertical line in the chart at right, blown up to show the finest possible detail, down to each individual trade.

Given that 1,104 trades were conducted in the space of 10.025 seconds, it's fair to assume that the work was being done automatically, by computers running high-frequency trading algorithms.

Keep that in mind next time you try to time a trade to get the best possible price.

For a guide on how to read the chart, click here.

Via Investor Village's AAPL Sanity.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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