A Million, Billion Reasons The Dow Cratered?

May 6th, 2010 by alyx · 8 Comments · markets

Special Correspondent LoLo, Esq., has been fixated on CNBC and giving me play-by-play during this blackest of Black Thursdays, and tells me that “trader error” is now being cited as a reason for this afternoon’s massive fail:

So, take this for what you will: CNBC is reporting that “a possible culprit” for the huge drop in stock prices this afternoon “was a trader error in which someone entered a ‘b’ for billion instead of an ‘m’ for million in a trade.”

The cable network said on its Web site that “multiple sources confirmed the report to CNBC and CNBC.com.”

In some reports, the trade in question is Procter and Gamble, $PG, which dropped $20 out of nowhere when this all went down. In other reports it was a massive block of e-minis (S&P futures contracts traded on the CME). LoLo also tells me which bank was implicated: $C! Yeah, Citigroup.


In all honesty, if this is for real… if I were the one who made the oopsie in question, I would definitely have already put on a bandit mask, and would be in a town car on my way to the airport to get the heck out of Dodge as fast as I possibly could.

8 Comments so far ↓

  • lavacake

    I don’t get it – why would the Dow plunge if the erroneous trade was for P&G? Is that like all the lemmings following 1 lemming off a cliff?

  • alyx

    I feel like it’s very much like that. One precipitous drop triggers all kinds of preprogrammed sell orders, and then everything goes haywire.

  • alyx


  • Jason

    Meh, Citi said on a conference call this afternoon that they checked their trading logs and didn’t find anything like a 1000-fold screwup, which is too bad because I prefer blaming them for everything.

  • Alyx

    Meh. How dare they rain on my lol parade?

  • Sally

    Same difference, I still plan to blame Bandit for everything.
    So a third of my stock gain went into the ethers just because someone punched a wrong letter?

  • Doodyhead

    $C did it 4 da lulz

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