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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]

About the author

Jim Newell is Wonkette's beloved Capitol Hill Typing Demon. He joined in 2007, left for some other dumb job in 2010, and proudly returned in 2012 as our "Senior Editor at Large." He lives in Washington and also writes for things such as The Guardian, the Manchester paper of liberals.

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  • forgracie

    Oh well, in that case–cocktails all around!

  • I Heart Accuracy

    Whoops jumped to my death.

  • ph7

    Just another Three Card Monte on the Street.

  • ManchuCandidate

    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

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

  • TakingAmes

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

  • GOPCrusher

    That’s why I don’t use a computer.

  • Ken Layne

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    The trader’s next job will be with BP.

  • Ruhe

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

  • Canmon (the Inadequate)

    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

    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

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

  • Tommmcatt

    He works for Citigroup.

    Not for much longer, I’d guess.

  • Rush

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

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

  • Aurelio

    [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

    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

    >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

    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

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

  • mirrorball

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

  • TGY

    Fickle fat finger of fate!

  • Jim Newell

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

  • charlesdegoal

    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

    Obviously, we need more DE-regulation

  • bureaucrap

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

  • justthisonce

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

  • jetjaguar

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

  • Buzz Feedback

    Need a do-over.

  • Prommie

    OMG! Its Obama’s Katrina!

  • Mr Blifil

    You know what other word starts with “b?”

  • Jim Newell

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

  • 4tehlulz

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

  • bureaucrap

    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

    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

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

  • a_pink_poodle

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

  • Beowoof

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

  • jetjaguar


  • imissopus

    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

    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

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

  • Extemporanus

    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. ???
    4. PROFIT!

    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

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

  • the deliverator

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

  • sanguinesu

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

  • GOPCrusher

    This never happened during George Bush’s watch!

  • El Pinche

    [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

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

  • Snarkalicious

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

  • slappypaddy

    it’s good to know nothing important was at stake

  • sati demise

    Citi is denying the rumor. We know nothing!

  • Lionel Hutz Esq.

    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


    You win, my dearest.

  • desertwind

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

  • Jim89048

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

  • Oh hell to the no

    [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

    Somebody had too much fun on Cinco de Mayo…