‘Fat-fingered trader mistakes billions for millions’ in sale that caused stock exchange slump

Daily Mail Reporter
The Daily Mail [UK]
7 May 2010

A ‘fat-fingered’ Wall Street trader has been blamed for an erroneous transaction – in which he mistook billions for millions – that yesterday caused one of the worst meltdowns in New York Stock Exchange history.

Believed to be a trader for Citigroup, he is said to have caused the panic in a trade of Proctor & Gamble stocks that saw the price of shares in the company plummet from $62 to $39.37, before recovering to close at $60.75.

Shock: A trader is surprised by the massive drop that followed the alleged erroneous sale. AFP/Getty Images

Shock: A trader is surprised by the massive drop that followed the alleged erroneous sale.

That caused the Dow Jones, New York’s answer to the FTSE to fall by a shocking nine per cent, but it regained most of that loss within 20 minutes.

Citigroup today said it was investigating the the reports, but said it had no evidence that an erroneous trade had been made.

The U.S. financial watchdog said it is working closely with the Commodities Futures Trading Commission to review yesterday’s unusual trading, which at its deepest point wiped $1trillion off equity values.

The Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman (SEC) Mary Schapiro cancelled an appearance at an industry trade group breakfast this morning to focus on the trading glitch.

‘She felt it was important to remain at the office and follow up on unusual trading acitivity that took place briefly yesterday afternoon,’ said Andrew Donohue, the market watchdog’s director of the Division of Investment Management.

Computer selling in the US intensified yesterday’s selling while panicked investors watched violent protests in the streets of Athens on TV.

The White House said President Obama was closely monitoring the situation and his aides were in frequent touch with their counterparts in Europe.

Fears are running high in the financial markets that the Greek government will not be able to implement austerity measures that would enable it to contain its debt problems.

The article continues at The Daily Mail.

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