Institutional traders trying to move large blocks of stock in the face of market swings are driving venues such as Liquidnet to new volume records.

Liquidnet, which operates a dark pool where the average trade size is more than 52,000 shares, said Tuesday was its highest volume day of the year, as investors moved actively and rapidly to respond to the previous day's 634-point plunge in the wake of the first-ever downgrade of U.S. debt and then the comments of the Open Market Committee at the Federal Reserve Board, on the nation's prospects and its plans for interest rates. The volume: 109 million shares.

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