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Computer Problem Caused Price Errors on NASDAQ

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the that's-an-oops dept.

Bug 160

buckthorn writes "An article running on Yahoo News states: 'A computer problem at an unidentified stock trader caused erroneous, exaggerated prices -- some as high as $950 per share -- to be posted to the Nasdaq Stock Market Friday morning for 1,680 different stocks, a spokeswoman for the Nasdaq said.'"

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Mr President, Dr. Evil is on the line... (5, Funny)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524643)



Good afternoon gentlemen. As you are all no doubt aware, I have perfected a method of manipulating the various stock exchanges throughout the world. You received proof of this this morning, as relatively worthless Nasdaq stocks such as Maxco, Inc. and J.W. Mays Inc. traded briefly at hundreds of times their real value. I believe my latest caper, which I've puckishly dubbed 'Operation Stocking-Stuffer', is certainly worthy of your attention...

You see, gentleman, when 'Operation Stocking-Stuffer' is deployed in earnest, all stock exchanges will be laid waste...all trade will effectively cease, and global civilization itself will crumble...that is...unless you pay me...



One hundred billion trillion fafillion dollahs!!!

(cue dramatic music)



Gentleman, you have my demands...peace out.

Dr. Evil gets frist post! (3, Funny)

screwthemoderators (590476) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524679)

Was first post on a non-duped Slashdot story on part of the demands?

Re:Mr President, Dr. Evil is on the line... (5, Funny)

xCepheus (687775) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524707)

I can picture the engineers over at Nasdaq...

(a huge server farm where the racks are shaking violently and making strange noises)

Engineer1: I need a young priest and an old priest!
Engineer2: The power of Christ compels you!

Re:Mr President, Dr. Evil is on the line... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12524708)

you're an ass!

Re:Mr President, Dr. Evil is on the line... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12524768)

too bad there's no +6 funny mod, this deserves it.

Too complicated? Use Pascal instead of COBOL or C. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12524853)

1.0+666E$/share

open4free ©

Ops:Too complicated? Use Pascal instead of COBOL.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12524907)

1.0E+666$/share open4free ©

Who does pay the incidents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525017)

Yesterday's prices were between $3 & $4 per share ...

Today's public channel => $950 per share.
Many hours later, it will be $4.10 per share.

Today's private channel => $2.50 per share.

Where is the trap? (tm)

Re:Mr President, Dr. Evil is on the line... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525471)

No more secrets!

Montreal? (1)

montreal!hahahaha (880095) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524645)

uhuhuhuh

Ooops (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12524648)

Shit happens.

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12524650)

slashdot readers are gay

screaming into cell phone... (5, Funny)

pudding7 (584715) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524654)

Sell! Sell!

Re:screaming into cell phone... (2, Funny)

whackco (599646) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524801)

Bastard! You beat me to my punchline by a whole minute. Damn Friday the 13th!

Re:screaming into cell phone... (2, Funny)

M3rk1n_Muffl3y (833866) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524802)

1. buy stock 2. ????????? 3. sell stock 4. profit

Re:screaming into cell phone... (1)

wlan0 (871397) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524955)

What is that? Get bought by Google?

Re:screaming into cell phone... (2, Funny)

jazman_777 (44742) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525381)

Sell! Sell!

Thanks for the tip! I made money with Sun stock!!

Can you say: (0)

whackco (599646) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524660)

SELL SELL SELL SELL !!!!!

Friday 13th (2, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524662)

THIS is the reason I try to stay in bed on Friday the 13th.

Re:Friday 13th or why they have rules (3, Informative)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524842)

Well, that's also why there's a 3 day grace period from the order to the close.

It's not just there to allow for slow paper to move, but there to allow rollbacks.

Re:Friday 13th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12524875)

Why is Friday the 13th so special? It's just another day of the week. Next thing you'll tell me that you toss salt over your shoulder and avoid black cats. At least you didn't mention going to church; that would be an instant -1 Troll moderation.

Re:Friday 13th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12524945)

it's a day of the MONTH, numnuts

Take those transactions back! (1, Funny)

BorgCopyeditor (590345) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524670)

I call do-over!

Re:Take those transactions back! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12524929)

Hell, they did it in Debt of Honor

Not this again (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12524677)

A problem where technology caused wildly erroneous stock prices? I liked it the first time around when it was called the dot com bubble. The parties were better.

Re:Not this again (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12524746)

How about the second time around, when the wildly erroneous prices were caused by SCO FUD?

Trading Technologies (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12524857)

This issue was actually caused by trading software provider Trading Technologies (who are currently suing all of their clients due to supposed patent violations). It was caused by a bug in their automatic spread trading module, which caused it to run amok on one of their client's trading consoles.

Praetorians? (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524694)

Did the little PI symbol for the Praetorians show up on the NASDAQ ticker, too?

Re:Praetorians? (1)

tattoi.nobori (687297) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524899)

holy god, that movie was terrible. i'll thank you not to inflict us with such memories ever again.

Re:Praetorians? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12524926)

I second that! It hurts!

TT

sandra (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525105)

shes so hot [google.ca] !

when can i go home :(

guess what to do :)))))

Re:Praetorians? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525661)

Yeah, but Sandra Bullock (In a bikini!) makes the whole movie worthwhile.

Re:Praetorians? (3, Funny)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525191)

No, but they did trade at 3.14159265

Wow, that was close. (2, Funny)

robyannetta (820243) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524704)

Just as long as the price of this stock [yahoo.com] wasn't artificially manipulated by $950 per share, we could have been in hot water.

Re:Wow, that was close. (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524984)

Oh to be Warren. That'd rock. A lot.

MODE PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12524995)

OMG! That is funny!

83k usd? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525077)

wtf the higest stock i have ever seen was like 250 or something

is that really 83 000 dollars?

Re:83k usd? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525207)

Yes. Berkshire Hathaway is Warren Buffet's company, and it's noted for the fact that it has never had a share split. Most companies periodically split (or reverse split) their shares to keep the price in some preferred range. But splits are really mostly just paper shuffling, and Buffet doesn't bother.

The introduction of the BRK-B shares smudges the story a bit, though. He does recognize that $83k isn't the most convenient chunk of change to toss around for most people.

Re:83k usd? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525222)

Yes, berkshire hathaway is one of the most valued stocks ever. It pretty much only splits to keep the stock papers from having to add an extra column for their price:)

Re:83k usd? (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525539)

Keep in mind that in 1980, the price was roughly $200 per share. Also keep in mind that the enormous stock price isn't incredibly relevant, except for (a) preventing small investors from participating, and (b) certain anomalies which prompted BH to create their class B stock in the mid-90s. That is, the stock currently trades at about 17.5 times earnings, which is slightly below average for today's market.

There's a good Wikipedia article on Berkshire Hathaway. [wikipedia.org] Turns out they own Dairy Queen and GEICO, among other famous names.

I'M RICH BIATCH!! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12524731)

Those 100 SCOX shares really paid off!

W00t!!

Price in blurb says nothing. (2, Insightful)

paulthomas (685756) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524734)

For example, Berkshire Hathaway* trades at nearly $90,000 per share. Saying that some shares were trading at $950 per share does not indicated the magnitude of the problem without knowing which shares those were. * I know Berkshire isn't listed on the Nasdaq, but others like CheckPoint trade in 3 digits so I'm sure $950 isn't unheard of on the Nasdaq.

Re:Price in blurb says nothing. (1)

3nd32 (855123) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524784)

From TFA: "For example, shares of Maxco Inc., a metal heat-treating company that normally trades between $3 and $4 per share, was briefly quoted at $951.47 Friday morning. It later traded at $4.10 per share."

Re:Price in blurb says nothing. (1)

paulthomas (685756) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524813)

I wasn't commenting on TFA, rather on the blurb as indicated in the title of TFC. Thanks though.

Re:Price in blurb says nothing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12524974)

Gosh, thanks for pointing that out, Captain Obvious!!

Re:Price in blurb says nothing. (1)

csbrooks (126129) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524882)

You could always break down and RTFA. The correct price of the stock was mentioned there; $3 to $4.

Re:Price in blurb says nothing. (1)

aywwts4 (610966) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524973)

From the article...

"For example, shares of Maxco Inc., a metal heat-treating company that normally trades between $3 and $4 per share, was briefly quoted at $951.47 Friday morning. It later traded at $4.10 per share."

While not unheard of on the Nasdaq, I'm pretty sure 950 dollars is unheard of from this company.

Re:Price in blurb says nothing. (1)

Casca (4032) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525336)

Are you talking about this Checkpoint? http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=CHKP&d=t [yahoo.com]

Damn man, you've been out of it for a while.

"COMPUTER" error (4, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524735)

I just love those "computer errors". Did we jump intosome future world like that of of the Terminator, or The Matrix, where the robots are in control?

It was either a programming error (human) or an operator error (human) or some other cause. OK, clearly hardware faults can cause data corruption, but this is really pretty rare and it's hard to believe that a hardware fault could cause such a widespread fault.

Re:"COMPUTER" error (3, Funny)

freeplatypus (846535) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524777)

It was either a programming error (human) or an operator error (human) or some other cause. OK, clearly hardware faults can cause data corruption, but this is really pretty rare and it's hard to believe that a hardware fault could cause such a widespread fault.

Another good reason to eliminate The Human Factor. Let the Robot Age begin!

Re:"COMPUTER" error (5, Insightful)

Phisbut (761268) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524905)

It was either a programming error (human) or an operator error (human) or some other cause.

I love this quote :

At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.

Re:"COMPUTER" error (1)

hdparm (575302) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525182)

Thank you, sir! I now know what will new hires in my company have included in the induction process. Regular checks of their knowledge of this matter will be implemented, too.

Yes, I am sysadmin guy, why do you ask?

Re:"COMPUTER" error (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525061)

OK, clearly hardware faults can cause data corruption

In the case of hardware failure, it would be the person implementing the systems who made the error, for not adequately accounting for this type of problem (e.g. RAID, clustering, etc).

Re:"COMPUTER" error (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525296)

Of course it was programming error, that's why they need to dump Windows and go to either Linux or BSD.
*me ducks from upcoming linux/bsd flame war* ;)

Re:"COMPUTER" error (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525448)

Why would we have a flame war, BSD is obviously the choice for anyone that has an interest in keeping their jobs. Linux for your toasters and washing machines.

SCOX? (2, Funny)

WillRobinson (159226) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524737)

I thought this was why scox went up, but when we looked at the time it went up, it didnt conside with the error. Oh well, guess its just a pump/dump for monday.

I'd like to buy an option ... (-1, Redundant)

Enonu (129798) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524744)

to sell 50,000 shares at 950 :)

Talking of bugs... (1)

M3rk1n_Muffl3y (833866) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524748)

Why is there a PHP icon at the top of the page, which should be a Firefox icon.

Re:Talking of bugs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12524798)

This is the IT section of Slashdot, so the icons at the top of the screen represent the previous stories in the section. So it's not a bug.

On ther other hand, if anyone can figure out how to make nested mode work properly again you'd make me very happy. There's something off when the same comment thread appears at the top of three pages and there's six pages of comment to a story. I'd submit it as a bug but somebody beat me to it like six months ago.

Re:Talking of bugs... (1)

M3rk1n_Muffl3y (833866) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524852)

So IE counts as IT but Firefox doesn't?

It is possible (2, Interesting)

dimss (457848) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524756)

I am working for local internet shopping centre. Most prices are generated automatically based on wholesale prices and competitor retail prices. Sometimes glitches in this process lead to funny prices on website. When this happens sales reps are ready to kill us IT guys.

Re:It is possible (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524987)

When this happens sales reps are ready to kill us IT guys.

Local Police are reporting tonight on the death of the entire IT staff at a local internet shopping centre. The victims were beaten senseless with several tennis rackets and golf clubs shortly before being run over by a Corvette, three Porches, and a BMW 5si.

Police refuse to confirm or deny the use of expense reports in the binding of the victims, although a couple bloodied credit cards were found at the scene next to half a dozen Venti Lattes from Starbucks and a pile of old business cards.

Police believe a computer glitch is responsible.

Re:It is possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525108)

Ahh yes, the famous "glitch". The scapegoat every programmer has used to explain his inadequacies at one time or another. Has the same meaning as the word "bug", but none of the responsibility to go along with it.

All it will take is one more high profile incident like this, and the USA will declare a War on Glitches.

Re:It is possible (2, Interesting)

MenTaLguY (5483) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525168)

Given the impact of advertising funny prices, it seems like it might be wise to throw a safety net into the process -- e.g. determine "reasonable" price ranges for different classes of items, and flag any prices that exceed that range for manual approval (and perhaps adjustment of the "reasonable" range).

Of course, how practical that is does depend on how many different categories of products you have to deal with. You can take an initial crack at "reasonable" via an arithmetic mean or something, but "reasonable" really requires some human interpretation.

I'm rich! (2, Funny)

kihjin (866070) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524759)

Those transactions, which were made 15 percent above or below the previous day's closing price, will be "broken" -- the buyer will get his or her money back, and the stock will revert to the seller.

I wont let them. They can't take it back.... right? ...

What the hell is banging on my door? They are insi#%*#&)^*!&$NO CARRIER

MSFT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12524816)

yes, the windows-powered machine made a calculation error, inflating MSFT as much as 900%...

funny I sold (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12524761)

I thought it was just a good 1Q report on some of my holdings. Hope they don't send me to the federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison like Martha :(

ObOfficespace quote (5, Funny)

southpolesammy (150094) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524769)

Michael Bolton: I must have put a decimal point in the wrong place or something. Shit. I always do that. I always mess up some mundane detail.

Re:ObOfficespace quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12524913)

What's funny is that most programmers do that. I'm always amazed at how many programmers don't test software under the evironment and conditions it will be used in before trying to deploy it.

It's like after they finish writing something it's this fragile thing that they are afraid to touch. Pffft, idiots. This is the reason why there is so much crappy software out there.

Every time I finish something I abuse the hell out of it. It should be indestructable or it's not worthy of having my name on it. I also do lots of unit testing.

Re:ObOfficespace quote (2, Funny)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524942)

Main Entry: launder
Function: transitive verb
: to transfer (money or instruments deriving from illegal activity) so as to conceal the true nature and source

Re:ObOfficespace quote (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525315)

Yep, and he was considered to be their "top notch" programmer by the main character. Then again, my durability test is now running for -1300 minutes so I guess I am not without errors either.

From those who lost their Hawaiian shirt today... (1)

jte (707188) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525611)

This is not a mundane detail, Michael!!!

Profit? (2, Informative)

xiando (770382) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524773)

"A metal heat-treating company that normally trades between $3 and $4 per share, was briefly quoted at $951.47 Friday morning. It later traded at $4.10 per share." There IS money in the stock market. Invest $40, sell for $9510. Profit: $9470! Cheers and congratulations.

Been going on for over a year now... (4, Funny)

tktk (540564) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524780)

Just look at SCO's share prices.

Damnit! (5, Funny)

Gogogoch (663730) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524783)

Damnit, I could have made some money! Except that my funds are tied-up in a Nigerian opportunity at the moment. But boy-o-boy is that opportunity gonna make me rich! Rich! I say!

Good thing I sold Sony ADR (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524805)

instead of Red Hat today.

Oh, wait, I would have made even more ...

Darn.

In other news (2, Funny)

hsmith (818216) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524815)

Microsoft blames IE Share loss [slashdot.org] on NASDAQ computer errors

its a problem (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12524847)

working for a large bank on a program trading system (yes it runs on linux) automating orders on behalf of clients this is the sort of thing that gives us the cold shivers.

one coding error can suspend the trading of a major stock, or worse as in this case move the price miles from where it should be.
theoretically the exchanges shouldn't allow you to do this. some work by suspending automatically and restarting with an auction, some work by suspending it. locking you out and fining you loads of cash. this costs you big as nobody else can trade that stock through you for a while. thats really expensive - the lost business.

when your taking in client orders and trading them automatically and you recieve orders via say FIX.
yes you do lots of checks with vol, movement on the day, movement since the close, momentum etc.
but how well do these checks work when your market data feed has gone down (or worse gone wrong) or even gone down, but the heartbeat process is still pinging so you think you have a good price?

but i guess sometimes we get it wrong just like anywhere else. this is just a rather high profile and embarrassing example.
still they won't do it again (for a while)

Re:its a problem (1)

madaxe42 (690151) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524988)

Can you say... 'in flight fills'? The number of exchanges which don't support delta quantity is insane - and FIX doesn't support it either, officially... Total bloody nightmare, if you ask me.

We haven't had anything go too badly wrong. Yet.

Re:its a problem (1)

whackco (599646) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525076)

Very insightful comment. I too worked for many years in the FX sector, and oversaw a few trading systems being build.

I get shivers because a few mistakes we caught in beta like certain currencies where the buy and sell have been reversed, etc.

Either way, the whole point with big money systems is to have everything worked out in PRE-PROD and tested and stream live.

Looks like somebody missed a step somewhere, but rolled it back quick enough. Just wish I had my hand on the sell button soon enough ;)

Re:its a problem (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525435)

I've worked for a number of banks on various front office trading systems and I can tell you that the risk of major error is an ever present possibility, and in fact many non-US markets will reject orders with prices beyond a prespecified high/low for the day to prevent wild and inadvertant price fluctations or runaway meltdowns.

The quality of trading systems varies tremendously. I've seen some that can easily handle many hundreds of thousands of orders quickly and reliably with a minimum of hardware investment, while others struggle and choke at far less than that while requiring far more boxes to run on and crash several times a year or more during production hours. Much of the codebase in these systems is horrendously bad and its almost impossible to address since the senior managers often got to where they are by rolling out these systems.

Some are incredibly poor

Input Validation? (1)

inherent monkey love (875830) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524884)

So you're telling me that as long as you're a trading house with a direct tie-in to NASDAQ, there's no input validation or sanity checking done? I realize its probably too much to ask that there be a moderate amount of human oversight given the extreme amount of data passing through the lines. But given the importance of accurate data, you'd think NASDAQ would put better checks and balances into their systems.

Re:Input Validation? (2, Funny)

k4_pacific (736911) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524961)

I guess they need some validation code to alert them of a problem.

if(new_price > old_price + 900.0)
{
// holy shit!!
int fd = open("/dev/ticker", O_WRONLY);
while(1)
write(fd, "TILT! ", 6);
}

Re:Input Validation? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525117)

I don't deal with the NASDAQ, but I can tell you that on electronic derivatives exchanges there are often "circuit breakers" that are tripped when certain volitility thresholds are met. The problem with most of these is that they look at a few ticks (quotes or trades) before they go off. So a single erroneous price in the system causes big problems. There is also nothing stopping me from buying a share of apple for $1000 if I so choose. Most likely these trades will be rolled back.

This btw, is not the first time this has happened. Another company that provides direct prices, Bridge, gave quotes of ~400k for a QQQ's (nasdaq index's) which at the time were selling for about $40. Made some people lose (and others gain) a small shitload of money in february.

If you understood financial markets a bit, you would understand that there is no real silver bullet to this problem. Problems occuring from the miskeying in of orders and trades happen all the time. With traders keying in orders every day, they will just click like zombies past any warning screens that they see. I am not saying that the order entry interfaces are perfect, but traders can be a nasty bunch, and they generally HATE anything that impedes the speed at which they can trade or gets in their way.

$ 950 per share? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12524896)

Quick, sell!

Not as uncommon as you think (4, Interesting)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524948)

In the extended hours markets, some traders post bids or offers at outrageous prices, hoping someone will make a mistake. They will offer to buy some stock for $0.02 per share or sell some stock for 200.00 per share (that normally trades $20 a share) in hopes that someone screws up. The low cost of participating in an electronic market makes it easy to post these orders.

The real lesson is that stocks don't really have "a price" in a traditional sense. (At best, the price on the last transaction serves as a proxy, but is no guarantee of getting that price in the future). In reality, stocks have both a bid and an ask price. For thinly traded stocks (especially in the off-hours), the bid-ask spread can be very very large.

Buyer (and seller) beware.

Re:Not as uncommon as you think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525001)

The real lesson is that stocks don't really have "a price" in a traditional sense.

Well, no, but I do try to be smart about it and buy my stocks for less than the MSRP.

Re:Not as uncommon as you think (1)

pudding7 (584715) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525279)

Sounds like the auction house in World of Warcraft.

Re:Not as uncommon as you think (3, Funny)

bonzoesc (155812) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525579)

It's like that, but not as gay because there's no purple elves.

Re:Not as uncommon as you think (1)

c0dedude (587568) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525416)

Who takes the hits from this? Is it the stock, the market, or an insurer?

Re:Not as uncommon as you think (1)

radish (98371) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525628)

If someone makes an offer at a silly price, and someone else accepts - it's their problem. No insurer will cover you for dumb trading ;)

Re:Not as uncommon as you think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525689)

usually a settlement dood phones them up and says it was an error, and the deal is cancelled.

nobody deals in the market trying to cash in on errors and then refuses to back out. it's probably happened like twice, and becomes urban legend that it's a common practice.

It was etrade (1)

harris s newman (714436) | more than 9 years ago | (#12524967)

It was etrade

Maybe high tech wasn't SUCH a good idea? (0, Troll)

holyshitholyshit (877523) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525040)

If they're in such a mad rush that they screw up stock ticker prices, maybe we should slow things down a bit. There is just too much going wrong with technology these days, like hackers stealing personal information from Choicepoint, or Indians stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from Bank of America account holders. The difference between programming and engineering is that engineering is intended to get things right, whereas programming is done by high-school dropouts who don't care. Let's focus on engineering from now on, shall we?

the unidentified trader was... (3, Informative)

bnitsua (72438) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525147)

after some poking around, I believe the unidentified trader was scotttrade. if you use the ticket on their website, it's the only one I've found that reports the incorrect highs (such as maxco being traded for $951.47). you can find other ones if you look hard enough...

Looks like we're going to war with Japan... (1)

Lt.Hawkins (17467) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525277)

(Debt of Honor lives!)

You would be astounded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12525367)

I'm posting this anonymously for obvious reasons. A friend of mine helped develop software used in a north american electronic securities trading system. He mentioned various timing difficulties and synchronization errors he was trying to work around, and how finally he fixed most of the race conditions with random sleep statements. Whether or not that code got into production, I don't know

2 Revealed! (2, Funny)

Aggrav8d (683620) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525405)

Step 1: Buy worthless penny stock
Step 2: Await computer error
Step 3: Profit!!!1!

In Soviet..erm, I'd like to see a beow...uh, I for one, welc... oh, just forget it.

Ha ha! Funny stuff (3, Informative)

bigberk (547360) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525432)

Believe you me, the NASDAQ is one of the only major exchanges I mildly trust precisely because it is electronic. Other major exchanges, notably the NYSE, involve human floor traders gathering around posts and barking out bid and ask prices.

Do you have any idea how crooked stock trading through middlemen is? There are a thousand ways the retail investor and small trader gets screwed. For instance, market makers are definitely not impartial and favour their own trades ahead of clients'. You can not even catch the fraud the occurs. There are about a dozen NYSE market specialists that are charged with fraud every year.

There is absolutely no reason to involve humans in the securities trading process any more. None! The rampant fraud can be easily avoided. When things like this are publicized, I almost wonder if it's got some bias in favor of the human trade specialists who make trading floor operations tick. They're useless middlemen, profiting from spreads and leverage.

Electronic trading is the only way to go. When an exchange switches to electronic, you should see that as a sign of quality and a commitment to do away with the fraud that EVERY insider knows is a standard mode of operation in stock trading.

Re:Ha ha! Funny stuff (1)

radish (98371) | more than 9 years ago | (#12525674)

Humans are still involved in electronic exchanges, and there's just as much scope for fraud. In the end, the trades are between people (a computer can't own stock) and they're the ones making the decisions. The fact that they do it through a terminal rather than in open outcry is neither here nor there.
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