Free trading app Robinhood may be behind Virtu’s stellar 2Q

Mom-and-pop investors spending their stimulus checks on no-fee trading apps like Robinhood weren’t all winners in the June rally they fueled, but one Wall Street firm that executed their trades appears to have made out big.

Virtu Financial, a $10 billion Manhattan-based provider of trading services, announced gangbuster trading income on Friday, which Wall Streeters say is due in part to the Joe Sixpack rally that helped push up stocks like bankrupt car renter Hertz in the spring and early summer. 

For the three months ended in June, during which the Dow Jones Industrial Average grew by 23 percent, Virtu, a large purchaser of Robinhood order flow, said its trading income grew 180 percent over last year’s second quarter — thanks in part to a tripling of its market-making revenues to $760 million.

As of March, Virtu, which declined to comment for this story, was the second-largest purchaser of Robinhood’s order flow, according to the trading app’s most recent regulatory filings.

As The Post has previously reported, Robinhood uses larger firms to execute its users’ trades by selling its user’s trading data to those firms. For firms like Virtu, buying order flow can provide a real-time look at stock movements, allowing them to capitalize on the market’s interest in fad stocks, like the one that took Hertz from 50 cents to $5 a share in less than two weeks following its bankruptcy.

“Having access to Robinhood flows in May and June was a great business,” one equities trader told The Post. “You can almost see exactly how good it was in Virtu’s numbers. And you can also see who really made the money, and it wasn’t people buying Hertz at 60 cents.”

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