Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Great Burp

If I'm the SEC I'd be over this like fleas on a stray dog. Just before 3 pm EDT today the stock market dropped nearly 900 points and recovered almost all of that in a matter of minutes. The cause is being blamed on a typo by some Citigroup trader.

An accident, they are saying. Yeah, right. With today's modern computer trading and arbitrage trading an unscrupulous market maker like, perhaps, Citigroup (or dare I even suggest it, Goldman Sachs), could make billions in the wink of an eye using such an accident. This kind of market manipulation would be an irresistible attraction to the riverboat gamblers riding the New York Stock Exchange.

It's being called an accident. Maybe. Maybe this is happening all of the time and the only accident was that this time it was too big to ignore. I find it hard to believe the imaginative traders at those big investment banks haven't seen the possibilities in this type of market swing. And I find it impossible to believe, if they saw the possibilities, that they wouldn't have done it. Repeatedly. Greedily.

Accident or no, many humans watching this today on CNBC panicked and lost fortunes selling into the trough. Those fortunes were recovered by wily hedge funds and perfidious investment bankers.

Prediction: The Great Burp will be followed by The Great Cover-Up. We shall never know the truth.

P.S. I blissfully missed all the hysteria until it was long past over.

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