DEATH & SADNESS  4:38 pm May 6, 2010

by Jim Newell

GLOBAL FINANCIAL SYSTEM OPERATING SMOOTHLY: Remember how the Dow dropped 700 points in fifteen minutes between 2 and 3 p.m. today, and then got back 500 of those points a few minutes later? Some dingbat computer went nuts or whatever: “NEW YORK (Reuters) – A trading error at a major firm was to blame for the day’s market plunge, CNBC reported on Thursday. Separately, Nasdaq said it was working with other major markets to review the market activity that occurred between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.” Ha ha, yes, “trading error.” GREATEST SHORT SELL IN HISTORY! Everyone in America wins. UPDATE: Oh my god. Is this really allowed to happen? “According to multiple sources, a trader entered a ‘b’ for billion instead of an ‘m’ for million in a trade possibly involving Procter & Gamble, a component in the Dow.” He works for Citigroup. [Reuters]

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forgracie May 6, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Oh well, in that case–cocktails all around!

I Heart Accuracy May 6, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Whoops jumped to my death.

ph7 May 6, 2010 at 4:43 pm

Just another Three Card Monte on the Street.

ManchuCandidate May 6, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Fucking Skynet. It’s not bad enough it kills us with free porn and makes bad sequels, but now it’s gotta make us broke.

Rush May 6, 2010 at 4:46 pm

It was a fucking typo by some trader. A typo!! All that Wall St. shit is just Greek to me.

TakingAmes May 6, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Can we then infer that the crash in the fall of 2008 was due to a trading error?

GOPCrusher May 6, 2010 at 4:47 pm

That’s why I don’t use a computer.

Ken Layne May 6, 2010 at 4:47 pm

This is a great story except for the 348-point plunge of the Dow today, and the 3.25% plunge of the S&P500. The S&P is down 6% so far this week. The “trading error” tale is very comforting, though!

JMP May 6, 2010 at 4:48 pm

It’s a good thing out financial overlords are all calm, rational and clearheaded, instead of being jittery paranoids who will panic at the first sign of what appears to be bad news.

Cocaine really is a hell of a drug.

memzilla May 6, 2010 at 4:49 pm

On the bright side, Goldman Sachs (GS) closed at $142.32, off its 52 week high of $193.60, and British Petroleum (BP) closed at $50.53, off its 52 week high of $62.38, so… win? Truly, it’s an ill wind that blows nobody…

mcc May 6, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Remember that “transaction tax” that was briefly proposed, at least in part, to make it so the big trading firms had an incentive to not make pointless trades or discourage algorithmic systems where computers do huge numbers of totally automated trades?

The more I think about that the more I like it D:

Troubledog May 6, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Goldman makes money on volume, volume, volume.

There was a hilarious CNBC bit earlier with Cramer freaking out. P&G was down something like 30%. They are watching the numbers in realtime, with trade volumes and the whole works. Just like every day.

So, since every dickhole watching CNBC is seeing they can pick up P&G right now for super cheap and sell in half an hour when the price recovers, the price recovers right before Cramer’s eyes.

Cramer explains this by saying the machines must be broken and there will be a formal inquiry. That never happened. Those trades never took place, this whole thing is a broken machine problem.

Here’s the Cramer video on YouTube. He is the most vapid, inane, vacuous moron that ever wore a poly-cotton blend shirt:

Johnny Zhivago May 6, 2010 at 4:50 pm

It’s time to shutdown NYSE, NASDAQ and replace them with a game like Farmville on Facebook. Seriously, could it really be any worse?

Ruhe May 6, 2010 at 4:50 pm

So NASDAQ will be “working with other major markets to review the market activity that occurred between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.”

That is so much whistling-past-the-graveyard b.s. In the time it takes to simply speak that pablum out loud the various hedge funds and quant machines will have executed hundreds of thousands of transactions. On Wall Street, what happened three hours ago may as well have happened a million years ago.

S.Luggo May 6, 2010 at 4:53 pm

The trader’s next job will be with BP.

Ruhe May 6, 2010 at 4:53 pm

[re=571960]JMP[/re]: Could be tough night at Fight Club. Those fellas are liable to be a bit edgy.

Canmon (the Inadequate) May 6, 2010 at 4:54 pm

It plunged in about 15 minutes then popped right back up. The rumor is that someone at Citi put in a sell order for Proctor and Gamble in the billions when they meant to do it in the millions. Since P&G is part of the index, the whole index fell and people panicked for a few minutes.

GOPCrusher May 6, 2010 at 4:55 pm

So will another Wall Street honk respond with another angry tirade about how the American people should keep their noses out of Wall Street’s business? How if we regulate their activities, they will retaliate by taking our jobs?

Ruhe May 6, 2010 at 4:55 pm

[re=571964]mcc[/re]: That’s got my vote too.

Tommmcatt May 6, 2010 at 4:56 pm

He works for Citigroup.

Not for much longer, I’d guess.

Rush May 6, 2010 at 4:56 pm

[re=571959]Ken Layne[/re]:

Greed, for lack of a better term, is good.

Aurelio May 6, 2010 at 4:58 pm

[re=571971]Canmon (the Inadequate)[/re]: Jim Kramer, who must be back on his meds, was certain the P&G price was an error>/a>.

JMP May 6, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Could that trader come for my bank? It would be nice for him to move the decimal point on my balance a spot or two to the right.

4tehlulz May 6, 2010 at 4:59 pm

>working with other major markets to review the market activity that occurred between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Unless this involves wiring the jaws of everyone at Moody’s and S&P, I’m not particularly optimistic that this will mean anything.

Ruhe May 6, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Does anyone remember the commercial from, I’m guessing, the mid Nineties that featured a very Dickensian broker’s office where these old guys in old suits sitting in old leather chairs were conducting trades basically with paper and telegraph, while the fancy new firm who the ad was for was being touted for its speed and efficiency? Can we go back to those days where it would actually take, like, weeks to execute a trade for a billion fucking shares?

Johnny Zhivago May 6, 2010 at 5:00 pm

[re=571974]Tommmcatt[/re]: More likely he was promoted!

mirrorball May 6, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Coincidence? P&G reps to ring closing bell tomorrow at NYSE.

TGY May 6, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Fickle fat finger of fate!

Jim Newell May 6, 2010 at 5:02 pm

[re=571983]TGY[/re]: Seriously. that finger would have to span three keys. Has anyone seen Mark Penn lately?

charlesdegoal May 6, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Millions, billions, who cares? The stock market is grossly overvalued in any event – as is Western Civilization in general. We’re living on borrowed money and borrowed time.
And then there will be an ice age and everything will smooth itself out, but as JM Keynes so optimistically put it, in the long run we’re all dead. Get out while the going is still good Ken.

WestEdEd May 6, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Obviously, we need more DE-regulation

bureaucrap May 6, 2010 at 5:03 pm

[re=571959]Ken Layne[/re]: comforting like a nice soft bed of nails.

justthisonce May 6, 2010 at 5:04 pm

And this is how oil rigs fall into the sea…a b instead of an m.

jetjaguar May 6, 2010 at 5:04 pm

[re=571984]Jim Newell[/re]: Maybe he misplaced his dailing wand.

Buzz Feedback May 6, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Need a do-over.

Prommie May 6, 2010 at 5:06 pm

OMG! Its Obama’s Katrina!

Mr Blifil May 6, 2010 at 5:06 pm

You know what other word starts with “b?”

Jim Newell May 6, 2010 at 5:08 pm

[re=571965]Troubledog[/re]: posting cramer next!

4tehlulz May 6, 2010 at 5:08 pm

[re=571984]Jim Newell[/re]: Sadly yes.

bureaucrap May 6, 2010 at 5:10 pm

I don’t think any person in his/her right mind would believe for a second that this was an error. If you were looking at the ticker, it had been drifting steadily downward, and by larger increments, for most of the day. Market patterns behaved similarly when Lehman collapsed, and Greece is the New Lehman, until tomorrow, when Portugal is the New Lehman, and Monday, when Spain is the New Lehman.

Serolf Divad May 6, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Only one letter stands between “b” and “m” on a qwerty keyboard. And that letter is “n”… as in “nitwit” or “nincompoop” or “noodlebrain” or “nice knowin’ ya… have fun at your next job.”

Cicada May 6, 2010 at 5:13 pm

[re=571984]Jim Newell[/re]: I thought Larry Summers ate him.

a_pink_poodle May 6, 2010 at 5:14 pm

[re=571949]forgracie[/re]: Cocaine cocktails?

Beowoof May 6, 2010 at 5:19 pm

Nothing to see here, move along, and no regulation of the shit these guys pull is needed either.

jetjaguar May 6, 2010 at 5:19 pm


imissopus May 6, 2010 at 5:19 pm

If only our public schools concentrated a bit more on the typing classes and a bit less on the standardized tests. Somehow that means this is all Obama’s fault.

WhatTheHeck May 6, 2010 at 5:30 pm

The good news is that the big corporations had the opportunity to buy up a lot of their own stock on the cheap.
A “b” instead of an “m” indeed.

ms_mcgee May 6, 2010 at 5:33 pm

My day suddenly improved after reading this. At least I’m not THAT guy.

Extemporanus May 6, 2010 at 5:36 pm

Here’s my sure-fire plan to ensure that this sort of thing never happens again:

1. Consolidate all financial exchanges into one Twitter-like website
2. Restrict each trade to 140 shares
3. ???

I’ve already register the domain names “”, “”, and “” — anyone interested in getting in on the ground floor of a highly lucrative, can’t lose, once-in-a-lifetime investment opportunity is strongly encouraged to contact me at their earliest possible convenience.


El Pinche May 6, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Good thing one person can send our economy into the toilet over a typo. Thanks Obama.

the deliverator May 6, 2010 at 5:43 pm

[re=572023]El Pinche[/re]: Dad? Is that you?

sanguinesu May 6, 2010 at 5:54 pm

That was the best photo caption I’ve read all day.

GOPCrusher May 6, 2010 at 5:56 pm

This never happened during George Bush’s watch!

El Pinche May 6, 2010 at 5:57 pm

[re=572033]the deliverator[/re]: Yeah, that’s my dad, too. All thoughts are filtered through Rush Limbaugh. When Rush finally dies, I think my dad will wither away as well.

Snarkalicious May 6, 2010 at 6:07 pm

[re=571994]Mr Blifil[/re]: Boobies?

Snarkalicious May 6, 2010 at 6:07 pm

[re=572062]Snarkalicious[/re]: Child.

slappypaddy May 6, 2010 at 6:11 pm

it’s good to know nothing important was at stake

sati demise May 6, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Citi is denying the rumor. We know nothing!

Lionel Hutz Esq. May 6, 2010 at 6:16 pm

What kind of software are they using? Even Ebay ask you several times to confirm your bid.

They have a phrase for this on Wall Street: Billion Dollar Bonuses all around!

Tommmcatt May 6, 2010 at 6:30 pm


You win, my dearest.

desertwind May 6, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Those automatic shut-off valves just can’t compete with human error.

Jim89048 May 6, 2010 at 8:10 pm

So long, ownership society. It was fun pretending, for awhile…

Oh hell to the no May 7, 2010 at 3:28 am

[re=572021]Extemporanus[/re]: But then you know what’d happen…Justin Bieber would trigger a massive stock tweetoff and everyone in Greece would riot at his concerts. Your idea, while admirable, is severely flawed.

gossipgirl May 7, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Somebody had too much fun on Cinco de Mayo…

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