The Corner

Holy Dow!

Did anyone see what just happened to the Dow? Dropped 500 1,000 800 points in a matter of minutes. Geez, you think 2:30 is a safe time to grab a sandwich.

As Felix Salmon put it, the Dow literally went off the chart on Google Finance:

Dow off the charts

All on the back of Euro worries, my guys on Wall Street are telling me.

UPDATE: The Dow was down by nearly 1,000 at the worst of it, but has rebounded. The S&P 500 fell by 57 points, or 4.9 percent, to 1109. NASDAQ fell 119 points, or 5%, to 2283.

Again, the sell-off came on the back of euro-debt worries and warnings from Moody’s about Italy, Spain, Portugal, Britain and, of course, Greece. The dollar has also hit a 14-month high against the euro.

UPDATE II: So, now the word is that the sell-off was set in motion or exacerbated by a Citigroup trader “fat-fingering” a trade — literally pressing a ‘b’ for billion instead of an ‘m’ for million or somesuch — on Proctor & Gamble, which went off a cliff around 2:30 P.M.

My guy on the Street characterized the ensuing cascade thusly:

“. . .then the equities desks on the street were all told to reign [sic] in risk and then computers kicked in.”

In other words, P&G’s 37 percent nosedive was only responsible for 172 points of the 992.60 the Dow lost in the slump. The rest was market reaction — and part of that was computerized and automated.

Daniel Foster — Daniel Foster is a former news editor of National Review Online.

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