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Bloomberg terminal displays news while traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Reuters/Brendan McDermid
Bloomberg’s not just for news.

This major US news organization is also a Wall Street trader

By Mark DeCambre

This post has been corrected

Most think of it as news and data organization. But recent trading disclosures from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority show that Bloomberg LP  is a trader too.

Bloomberg’s so-called alternative trading system (or ATS, in the industry’s acronymic parlance) helps investors trade securities outside of mainstream exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq OMX. Bloomberg ranked 33rd in trading volume with 8.4 million shares sold for the week between May 12 and May 18, according to data recently made public by FINRA. (It was the first time Finra has released data on ATS systems, which include so-called dark pools.)

It’s important to note that trading data disclosed by Finra—in an effort to offer greater transparency—represents just a week of trading in the shares of about 1,500 companies. Still, it’s impressive that a data shop like Bloomberg—founded more than three decades ago by Michael Bloomberg, now the ex-mayor of New York—has found a trading niche for itself.

It also raises interesting questions about the evolution of Bloomberg LP, which is morphing from simply an organization that sells market data and news to Wall Street traders, into one that may one day be competing with those very same clients for market share in the trading business. Bloomberg’s transformation comes as sales of its expensive terminals have slowed from double-digit growth rates of 35% from 2005 to 2007, to the low single-digits in recent years.

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Correction: A previous version of this post reported that Bloomberg’s trading activity was 12th among the entities ranked by Finra, which would have put Bloomberg just behind JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. That analysis incorrectly grouped Bloomberg’s ATS trading activity together with activity from a separate ATS known as BIDS Trading. Bloomberg is an investor in BIDS, along with several other financial services companies.