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another question indicates that market participants can take a look at the orders for a stock, option or futures. An ordinary investor can only look at the BID and ASK, but not the entire series of pending orders.

I am sure( feeling) that algorithms etc can take advantage of that. My question is why is that legal and what does these large specific participants provide in return ?

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    The premise of your question is wrong. Market depth (all pending orders) is freely available information. – Dale M Oct 18 '19 at 22:00
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    @DaleM: Getting that data, in real time, streamed at high-speed, is expensive. This is a service that companies like CBOE provide and charge a lot for. – abelenky Oct 18 '19 at 22:13
  • Why do you think information that is freely available has to be free? – Dale M Oct 18 '19 at 22:18

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