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Faster, Cheaper, Dumber: Street Whispers

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Despite the hand wringing over Knight Capital's (KCG - Get Report) $440 million in losses that also led to wild trading in at least 10 stocks, Wall Street is continues to fall over itself to make sure "smart money' high-frequency wolves can continue to slaughter the retail "dumb money" sheep.

Last week BATS Global Markets -- a high frequency trading exchange that which nearly went down in flames because of its own flash crash - said it will tie into NYSE Euronext's (NYX) new Retail Liquidity Program (RLP).

What is the RLP? It's a so-called "Dark Pool" where high frequency traders enjoy a refreshing and profitable swim. It also happens to be the pool where Knight Capital nearly drowned after a bad bit of computer programming went haywire while it attempted to tie into the system.

NYSE Euronext launched the RLP on August 1 in an effort to bring retail stock trading back to the "Big Board" by offering the ability to trade anonymously -- and in fractions of pennies -- on its exchange. After losing market share to other dark pools where traders can operate with little disclosure, NYSE Euronext is essentially creating its own dark pool, but with what it argues are investor protections of public data feeds and increased regulation.

In a lobbying effort for the RLP, Duncan Niederauer, the chief executive of NYSE Euronext took to the Financial Times to note that the program would return stock trading from opaque outfits to more trustworthy exchanges, citing figures like the 50 "dark pool" exchanges across the U.S. and the 40% of overall market trading that is channeled to them.

In the Op/Ed Niederauer highlighted a "two-tiered" equity market of transparent exchanges and opaque off-exchange venues that is harming ordinary investor confidence and the quality of markets.

His solution? Bring an opaque, two-tiered system with fast-money trading incentives to the "Big Board."

In the NYSE's proposed RLP system, retail orders would be executed at fractions of pennies - 100 IBM (IBM) shares at say $200.001 instead of $200.01. That's exactly the kind of pricing that high frequency traders enjoy since it allows they to move in and out of positions in milliseconds and at subpenny prices. With access to NYSEs retail order flow, robotic and sophisticated traders will have a whole new menu of liquidity on which to feast.
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