Institutions Just Traded Millions Worth Of Amazon, Verizon Stocks On Dark Pools: What Does It Mean?

Zinger Key Points
  • Dark pools allow institutions to trade anonymously, without affecting an individual stock's price.
  • Retail traders can use the information, paired with option flow, to help guide their trades.

At 9:12 a.m. on Wednesday, @MelStone31 posted an image to Twitter indicating institutions traded large blocks of, Inc AMZN and Verizon Communications, Inc VZ shares over a dark pool exchange.

The Trades: At 7:45:51 a.m. an institution traded 135,258 shares of Amazon at $107.40. At the exact same time, another order for 249,255 Amazon shares went through at the same price. Together, the two trades amount to a $41.3-million bet on the e-commerce and streaming giant.

Also at 7:45:51 a.m., two large blocks were completed on shares of Verizon. The first trade was of 349,708 shares at $50.46 and the second trade was of 661,612 shares at that same price. The two trades amount to a $51-million bet on Verizon.

Amazon and Verizon were trading higher by about 1.2% and .5%, respectively, at press time, putting the institutions who traded the stocks into the green, if the trades were a purchase of shares.

What Are Dark Pools? Dark pools (or black pools), named for the lack of transparency, are private, alternative trading systems, which allow institutional traders to buy and sell large amounts of stock anonymously and therefore without affecting movements in the market.

These exchanges were developed in the 1980s and as of February 2022, 64 dark pools were registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Controversy: The existence of dark pools hit the public psyche in early 2021, when GameStop Corporation GME and AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc AMC skyrocketted 1,041% and 624%, respectively, over the course of four days.

In January and February of that year, institutional ownership of GameStop shares was reported to be over 100% of the float, indicating more shares were being lent out than what was available. Naked shorting, which takes place primarily over dark pools, was blamed for the discrepancy, casting the existence of alternative exchanges into the spotlight.

See Also: New Congressional Report On GameStop Trading Frenzy Cites 'Troubling Business Practices, Inadequate Risk Management'

Dark Pools And Retail Traders: Direct dark pool trading is reserved for institutional traders and investors, but after the meme-stock saga, retail traders became more aware of how to use data from the dark exchanges to guide their strategies. This resulted in a number of apps emerging to provide dark pool feeds.

Approximately 40% of all executed trades take place on dark pools, and when large blocks of individual stocks are bought or sold over these exchanges, retail traders can use the information to understand what “smart money” is doing. The difficulty with dark pool data, however, is that due to its inherent confidentiality, the trades give no indication as to whether an institution is buying or selling the stock.

For this reason, retail traders can watch dark pool data for above average trading volumes on an individual stock and cross reference that information with option flow. If there is above average dark pool prints on a stock, paired with a high level of calls being purchased on the open market, it’s a good indication that institutions are buying over ATSs. Conversely, if large dark pool prints are followed by a large amount of open market put buying on the same stock, it can be assumed institutions are selling over ATSs.

See Also: This Clean Energy Company Has A Better 5-Year Return Than Starbucks, Ford, Microsoft, Apple, Disney, Netflix And Amazon

Photo via Shutterstock. 

Posted In: Dark PoolMoversTrading Ideas

Ad Disclosure: The rate information is obtained by Bankrate from the listed institutions. Bankrate cannot guaranty the accuracy or availability of any rates shown above. Institutions may have different rates on their own websites than those posted on The listings that appear on this page are from companies from which this website receives compensation, which may impact how, where, and in what order products appear. This table does not include all companies or all available products.

All rates are subject to change without notice and may vary depending on location. These quotes are from banks, thrifts, and credit unions, some of whom have paid for a link to their own Web site where you can find additional information. Those with a paid link are our Advertisers. Those without a paid link are listings we obtain to improve the consumer shopping experience and are not Advertisers. To receive the rate from an Advertiser, please identify yourself as a Bankrate customer. Bank and thrift deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Credit union deposits are insured by the National Credit Union Administration.

Consumer Satisfaction: Bankrate attempts to verify the accuracy and availability of its Advertisers' terms through its quality assurance process and requires Advertisers to agree to our Terms and Conditions and to adhere to our Quality Control Program. If you believe that you have received an inaccurate quote or are otherwise not satisfied with the services provided to you by the institution you choose, please click here.

Rate collection and criteria: Click here for more information on rate collection and criteria.