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The 3 Billion Dollar Typo

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the this-is-why-coffee-is-a-daily-requirement dept.

Businesses 398

Rand310 writes "Mizuho, the world's second largest bank based in Japan, with total assets of nearly the GDP of France (around 1.2 trillion USD) accidentally sold 610,000 shares, valued at $3.1 billion... for 1 yen each. A 27 billion yen loss would almost match Mizuho Securities' group net profit of 28.1 billion yen for the financial year ended in March, though... the incident would not threaten the brokerage's financial stability. FYI 1 yen is about .83 cents. Yesterday one share was selling at $5,065, today you could theoretically have bought 610,000 shares for $.0083 each. An expensive switch of variables."

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This brings a WHOLE new meaning... (1)

Ruff_ilb (769396) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220109)

To FAR. I wonder which online deal site this was posted on first?

Re:This brings a WHOLE new meaning... (5, Funny)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220282)

>>I wonder which online deal site this was posted on first?

FuckedCompany.com

Simpson's reference (0, Offtopic)

theNOTO (682519) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220110)

Please mash the keypad and a special typing wand will be sent to you.

Re:Simpson's reference (1, Insightful)

Irish-DnB (161087) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220237)

The first thing that came into my head when I read that story this morning was Nelson Muntz going HA-HA.

Give them my number (1)

Javi0084 (926402) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220112)

I need to give them my number for when they want to do another transaction like this, they can sell them to me.

Re:Give them my number (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220311)

Well, I wonder where the safety check software was. Things like a popup with "WARNING! You are attempting to sell this for a price significantly different from the latest market price. Are you sure you want to do this?"

Re:Give them my number (4, Informative)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220385)

From Mainichi News [mainichi-msn.co.jp] : "The accidental order was 42 times bigger than the number of issued shares, but a computer warning of the misplaced order was overlooked." (emphasis mine)

Would be nice, but not really... (5, Informative)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220116)

No, the shares weren't actually sold for 1 yen each. From TFA:

No buyer was actually able to pick up the phantom shares for 1 yen due to market rules designed to limit price fluctuations, but the shares may have gone as cheaply as 572,000 yen ($4,750) each, a more than 9 percent discount to the intended sale price.

Selling the shares for 572,000 yen is where the 27 billion yen figure came from, not selling them for 1 yen.

Also...

...you could theoretically have bought 610,000 shares for $.0083.

Aside from the fact that you couldn't have theoretically bought the shares because of market safeguards already mentioned, that sentence is missing a very important word: 610,000 shares for $.0083 each.

Still, it would have been one helluva holiday sale, wouldn't it?

The other thing I thought was interesting was from the other article. It said:

The accidental order was 42 times bigger than the number of issued shares, but a computer warning of the misplaced order was overlooked.

How much yen do you want to bet that it's one of those stupid "Are you sure?" dialog boxes that everyone clicks "Yes" to without actually thinking about what it's asking? Ah, how I love ignoring those warnings, too.

Re:Would be nice, but not really... (5, Informative)

110010001000 (697113) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220171)

Yes, but if Slashdot was more accurate it would be less dramatic. The idea is to increase pageviews by posting hyped and controversial "stories" in order to increase revenue. This was probably a policy instituted by upper management to help the flagging LNUX (Slashdots parent company) stock price.

Haven't you noticed that as the stock price goes down, the hysteria on the front page goes up? Anything to make a buck!

Re:Would be nice, but not really... (5, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220195)

How much yen do you want to bet that it's one of those stupid "Are you sure?" dialog boxes that everyone clicks "Yes" to without actually thinking about what it's asking? Ah, how I love ignoring those warnings, too.

It's a constant grip of mine. I hate unneccesary confirmation dialogs (the result being I hate alost all of them). I can just about tolerate "This will overwrite a file", or "Save before quit" ones, but I keep running across designers who think insist on using modal dialogs for feedback. "You have just pressed a key. OK/Cancel". I make a point of querying this behaviour any time a designer comes up with it.

Re:Would be nice, but not really... (-1)

lowrydr310 (830514) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220425)

I had a nice dialog box fool me in Word. I clicked something I shouldn't have, and immediately realized my mistake. A dialogue came up and I clicked what normally would have been "CANCEL" (you know the boxes where you get "OK" and "CANCEL") only instead the second box said "HELP". I had to wait about a minute or two while some crazy MS help database loaded.

May also not even be true (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14220205)

As someone else pointed out Not On Slashdot, something like this has been reported before. [ncl.ac.uk] 4 years before, in fact. Note that the number & price of the shares in each report are 610,000 shares at 1 yen each.

Now, what do you think that chances of this happening twice are? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Re:May also not even be true (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220302)

In fact if you start digging, Jupiter Communications (J:COM) has been listed on JASDAQ for some time, so if it was listing on TSE, it would be a transfer between exchanges, not an IPO. CNN and Reuters really need to check their urban myths a bit better before running with them.

Not identical numbers (1)

Parity (12797) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220402)

16 shares at 610,000 each transposed to 610,000 shares at 16 yen each in the original.
Today's story is 1/610,000 ; still, very suspicious, but we'll see.

Re:Not identical numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14220456)

Yes, I wanted to correct myself but Slashdot is making we wait to post. I had read the Risks article earlier but didn't double-check. Given the similiarity in the date and the identical number of shares, I have a hard time believing the latest report.

Blame (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220345)

Regardless of the numbers I'm sure someone, somewhere, is going to get their head handed to them on a platter. A bank's reputation alone is priceless. I suddenly don't feel so bad about the times I've overpaid $50 or so for things in the past.

Re:Would be nice, but not really... (4, Insightful)

fossa (212602) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220403)

Yup. As others have pointed out, this is yet another usability problem. If one simply mistake can cause so much damage, then it should raise a warning flag. Which it did, but apparently the warning flag was utterly useless. Silly "ok/cancel" dialogs are not enough to cause the user to stop and think about what he is doing. If such dialogs were correctly implemented, they would be extremely annoying which would lead to two things: 1) it'd be much more unlikely to make a mistake and 2) as another poster pointed out, almost *all* such dialogs are for something minor (do you really want to quit??) and better safeguarded against in some other way (e.g. "undo"), and thus would [hopefully] quickly disappear if they must be extremely annoying rather than merely annoying.

Raskin's suggestion for a dialog that would work is something like: "You are about to perform dangerous and undoable action X. If you wish to proceed, type 'Yes, perform action X' followed by the [11th] word of this sentance." You'd be asked to type a different word each time so you could not memorize it and learn to confirm the action without thinking. Highly obnoxious, yes. Hopefully designers would learn to only make use of it when absolutely necessary.

P.S. I'd just like to say that Firefox without the SessionSaver extension is painful. Why on earth isn't SessionSaver included by default? "You have 9 tabs open that took you many hours to arrange. Close them all forever: yes/no?". And if something crashes, you don't even get the annoying dialog...

Re:Would be nice, but not really... (1)

Uksi (68751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220417)

How much yen do you want to bet that it's one of those stupid "Are you sure?" dialog boxes that everyone clicks "Yes" to without actually thinking about what it's asking? Ah, how I love ignoring those warnings, too.


I think it goes to show that the "Are you sure?" dialog boxes are not the safeguard answer that everyone seems to think it is. How many developers I know say: "oh, we just need a confirmation here." Yeah, so much for that.

The answer, IMO, is UNDO. That should've been a separate key on the keyboard.

come on now (2, Informative)

TedCheshireAcad (311748) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220117)

From TFA: No buyer was actually able to pick up the phantom shares for 1 yen due to market rules designed to limit price fluctuations...

i love sensational media.

Re:come on now (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220157)

They still lost a big chunk of money, the headline here should be the $224 million dollar typo.

Re:come on now (2, Informative)

0110011001110101 (881374) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220254)

You mean like this [digg.com] and this [msn.com] .

Once again Digg beats /. to the punch, and more accurately all the while.

Re:come on now (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220406)

The problem with Digg is the execrable nature of the commentary.

Re:come on now (2, Interesting)

krbvroc1 (725200) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220188)

They are using the RIAA math. Theoretical sales * retail price equals large sensational media.

The real gist of the article is this was an IPO, that there was a typo, nothing actually sold that low, but the confusion caused by the low prices probably deflated the opening day IPO pricing--therefore the firm is trying to buy back what did sell so they can fix things. The buyback costs could be around $224m.

Re:come on now (1)

TedCheshireAcad (311748) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220401)

RIAA math is a specific case of Enron math. Theoretical sales * theoretical prodcuts * greed = $profit!

Maybe... (-1, Flamebait)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220125)

... the secretary that did the typing NEEDS TO LAY OFF THE MCDONALDS. You would think your fat ass would cause some concern, but now your fat fingers are COSTING.

Re:Maybe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14220193)

Knowing japan, s/he has probably already hung themselves.

Re:Maybe... (1)

guitaristx (791223) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220211)

Since it's a Japanese bank, wouldn't it be "Ray off da Makudonarudo [wikipedia.org] "?

OP math doesn't make sense (1, Redundant)

Myrrh (53301) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220126)

I thought you said $0.83 each, as in per share. So how could you, then, purchase 610,000 shares for $0.0083?

Re:OP math doesn't make sense (1)

Ruff_ilb (769396) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220153)

The OP must be the person who accidentally listed the shares for 1 yen.

Re:OP math doesn't make sense (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220336)

No it's .83 of a CENT, not a dollar.

Re:OP math doesn't make sense (1)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220347)

No it said ".83 cents". 0.83 cents != 83.00 cents. .83 cents == 0.0083 dollars. Where the decimal point is matters ;-)

But yeah I took a double take on that as well. I knew the US$ wasn't doing great, but I knew it wasn't doing that bad ;-) Certainly wasn't as clear as it could have been, but then it's a /. summary, so clarity is penalized.

Re:OP math doesn't make sense (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220350)

It doesn't say "$0.83," it says "0.83 cents," also known as $0.0083.

It would make life easier if the freaking cent sign worked on here. You can use &euro and &pound, but God forbid I use &cent or try the ASCII code.


£
  and a whole lot of nothing

Clever way to avoid wash sale rules (1)

The Clockwork Troll (655321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220130)

They should have done it a little closer to Christmas though

Data Validation (5, Insightful)

||Plazm|| (76138) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220132)

I wonder how many times the person(s) hit "Yes I am sure" when the system was telling them not to do it...

Re:Data Validation (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14220303)

You'd be surprised. I've worked in a number of major banks and those warnings aren't there in a surprising amount of cases.

Re:Data Validation (2, Interesting)

AdamTrace (255409) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220457)

Ha. That definitely could have been it. But there could have been other reasons as well.

I work in the software department of an investment management company. Trade errors are bad, but are certainly not unheard of. Sometimes it's a bug in the software generating the orders (yes, in spite of strict QA and user acceptance testing, weird "one in a million" bugs make it through to production). Frequently it's user error. Sometimes it's bad data in the database, or some simple misunderstanding that creates bad data.

When we have a trade error, we have to follow a process not only to fix the problem in the short term, but implement a process to make sure that same error doesn't happen again. It works pretty well.

But to say they just clicked "Yes, I'm sure" is oversimplifying it a little.

Real Life Dupe (0, Flamebait)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220136)

What's with these asian traders? Does their software just suck or are they all fumble fingers? Didn't this just happen a few months ago in a similar story?

Re:Real Life Dupe (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220284)

At first I thought it was a dupe, but last time [slashdot.org] it was a smaller figure ($251m, rather than $3b). I do wonder, however, whether this is an urban legend being reported as news.

Re:Real Life Dupe (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220332)

Well the actual figure being reported here is $225 million, so it's not that far off. It is suspiciously similar to the previous story though.

I wonder why I got modded down as troll. I guess that mod didn't remember the old story that was almost exactly like this one.

Hmm... misleading post? (5, Insightful)

LordPhantom (763327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220137)

From TFA..... No buyer was actually able to pick up the phantom shares for 1 yen due to market rules designed to limit price fluctuations, but the shares may have gone as cheaply as 572,000 yen ($4,750) each, a more than 9 percent discount to the intended sale price. .... Mizuho's error has so far cost the broker some 27 billion yen ($224 million), Fukuda estimated. It appears that, in fact, they didn't lose BILLIONS but a few millions. Still large, but the post is misleading.

math check (0, Troll)

mapmaker (140036) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220147)

you could theoretically have bought 610,000 shares for $.0083.

You could have bought 1 share for $.83, not 610,000 shares for $.0083.
610,000 shares would have cost $506,300 (plus commissions).

Re:math check (1)

Jason Terlecki (664831) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220234)

Actually it would have been 610,000 shares for $50.63. 1 yen = 0.83 cents, which is 0.0083 dollars I just felt like ranting anyways.

Re:math check (1)

mapmaker (140036) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220297)

oopsie

Re:math check (2, Informative)

NitroWolf (72977) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220308)

You could have bought 1 share for $.83, not 610,000 shares for $.0083.
610,000 shares would have cost $506,300 (plus commissions).


Your could have bought 1 share for $.0083, or .83 of 1 cent. This would be $5063.00 dollars for 610,000 shares.

1 yen is .83 of 1 cent, not $0.83. It's $0.0083.

Error prevention? (2, Insightful)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220156)

Surely there was some kind of trigger in the software that would detect these kind of errors! Windows asks if im sure when I try to delete a file and even then it only sends to to the recyle bin!

Re:Error prevention? (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220186)

Confirmation boxes are the worst sort of validation. Especially if you pop up the confirmation box too often or with every operation (like windows file delete crap). Of course people are sure, they just typed it in. They wouldn't have typed it if they weren't sure. They hit OK without reading.

"Was ignored" -- human nature, SPOF (2, Interesting)

ianscot (591483) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220409)

The article states that there was a check, but that it got ignored.

I'd be really curious to know how something so dramatic could possibly be written with a "check" that could be ignored with trivial effort or due to plain inattention. Yes, it's human nature to ignore "Confirm" dialogs, and efforts to explain things to the user within the standard Windows API so often end up like the "Do you really want to save this as a CSV" dialogs in Excel. But c'mon -- no single point of failure should result in something like this happening.

There has to be an escalation process in place to bounce serious problems up a review tree for others to scope out. You'd think bankers, of all people, would demand that from their software. I can't even post a news item on our intranet without legal reviewing it, for goodness' sake.

Re:Error prevention? (1)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220415)

Can you point out to me where it said Windows was used in this article? I can't seem to find it.

Creators of nothing (2, Insightful)

ReformedExCon (897248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220160)

When you think about it, all these investment banks do is take nothing, divide it up, sell it, and make a huge amount of profit on the hard work of entrepreneurs. Mizuho will no doubt be forced to pay back the difference to J-Com, but that's too late, really. Some lucky souls bought in at that low price and made up to 500,000% profit on the error.

So much capital floating around based on the creation of nothing. Is there a more apt description of the modern world?

Re:Creators of nothing (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220238)

No one made that much money. They only sold for about 20% below the intended price. IITA (It's in the article... I hate that RTFA acronym, so I'm making a new one)

Re:Creators of nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14220271)

It's not nothing... the entrepreneurs create something of value, and you can own a share of it. If you own shares of Ford, you own a tiny little piece of their capital assets, including lots of heavy machinery in factories. That's real. You also own a tiny share of their intellectual property - car designs, manufacturing processes, whatever - which is really worth something. And their human capital, their expertise in designing and making cars, is worth something too.

In terms of J-Com, which was described only as a "staffing firm", you would own a tiny piece of their databases of workers, a tiny piece of their contacts at the companies they provide staff to, and a tiny bit of whatever their capital assets are.

You can't take your little pieces of these companies home with you, but you can certainly sell your claim to someone else, for whatever they think it's worth.

Now the vast amounts of money made in trading these shares is certainly something that boggles the mind. And there is a certain artificiality to it. But brokers everywhere make vast amounts of money -- in New York, I can expect to pay 15% of the annual rent just to have someone show and rent me a decent apartment -- even if it's the first one they show, and I am with them for less than an hour!

Re:Creators of nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14220277)

Obviously you're not going to be persuaded, but the same 'creators of nothing' comment could be applied to real estate agents, car dealers, and Google.

All of them are getting paid to show you other people's valuable stuff.

So why not do away with this parasites? Because if you can't sell your old car, old house, or get visitors to your site, then the value of what you've created is never going to benefit you.

Re:Creators of nothing (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220348)

They're leveraging dynamic potentials of the various vertical markets in order to create a strategy of diversifying assets across a wide technology base.

Seems simple enough to me :-)

This is the same with taxes though.

I get paid $1. 22 cents goes to income tax. 15% of the remaining goes to provicial/sales tax, leaving me with 66 cents. Then the thing I bought goes to someones salary, but they only get 51 of the 66 cents. Then they buy something upto a value of 43.9 cents.

So after only one level of indirection my 1 dollar is able to buy 43.9 cents worth of product. [29.10 after the 2nd level, 19.29 after the 3rd].

But then you think the government spends this money on salaries and private sector deals [e.g. build roads, schools, hospitals].

But how much of the money goes to waste like very selective suppliers. I'm sure Paul Martin shops at Zellers, eats at Patties [pub on Bank St.] and buys canadian music/movies. Or perhaps he enjoys very expensive private meals at only certain restaurants, drinks only a particular brand of wine, etc, etc.

Then on top of the personal waste you have contracts going uneven across the market. Many road work projects in Ontario [like say Ottawa and even as far as the sub-burbs like Kanata]are handled by workers from Quebec. Many new government offices open out east, etc...

It boggles the mind.

Tom

1 BILLION Shares! Muuuahhahaahahahaha (4, Funny)

mpapet (761907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220164)

FTFA "The sell order, which was more than the available shares, somehow went through the TSE system.

That to me is much more disturbing.

I just wonder who's going to get the blame, IT or the software vendor?

Re:1 BILLION Shares! Muuuahhahaahahahaha (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220287)


It'll be classified as a software glitch and nobody will have to account for it. After all, software is perpetually in beta, just read the EULAs.

Refinery blows up? The software was faulty. Good luck assigning resposibility these days -everyone has an "out" by blaming Windows or some hard-to-find obscure programmer.

Re:1 BILLION Shares! Muuuahhahaahahahaha (1)

rcamera (517595) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220383)

it was not a software glitch. it was manually entered data. he simply switched two fields in some order entry app. i'm sure the trader has already ended his life from shame.

Re:1 BILLION Shares! Muuuahhahaahahahaha (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220289)

FTFA "The sell order, which was more than the available shares, somehow went through the TSE system.

That to me is much more disturbing.

Only government gets to make money out of thin air just by printing more :)

Re:1 BILLION Shares! Muuuahhahaahahahaha (1)

mekane8 (729358) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220310)

From the article it sounds like the brokerage is taking responsibility for getting the shares back. It doesn't seem like the software was at fault since someone put the right value in the wrong field.

I wonder how much will come out of the pocket of the guy who put 600,000 in the 'quantity' field instead of the 'price' field.

Re:1 BILLION Shares! Muuuahhahaahahahaha (0)

krgallagher (743575) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220413)

"The sell order, which was more than the available shares, somehow went through the TSE system."

"That to me is much more disturbing."

I am not sure that this is a problem. There is this concept in the stock market called "Selling Short." In essence if you think a stock is going to go down in value, you can sell shares of the stock that you do not own. You have to have assets worth half the value of the stock you are selling, and you have to buy an equal number of shares within (I think) three months to cover the deal. In theory this could have been seen by the software as a short sell.

Use http://www.xe.com/ucc (1, Informative)

FrontalLobe (897758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220172)

C'mon... 1 yen = .83US? Get real... I just ordered 15,000 yen worth of stuff from japan the other day...

1.00 JPY Japan Yen = 0.00829773 USD United States Dollars

Re:Use http://www.xe.com/ucc (2, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220226)

Um, the summary says 1 yen is worth ".83 cents", which is just about .0082977 USD...congrats on proving the summary correct when you were trying to prove it wrong :P

Re:Use http://www.xe.com/ucc (1)

FrontalLobe (897758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220305)

Awesome! Thanks for proving my inability to read! :)

Re:Use http://www.xe.com/ucc (4, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220356)

Congratulations, you may have what it takes to be an editor here.

Re:Use http://www.xe.com/ucc (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220321)

Um, the summary says 1 yen is worth ".83 cents", which is just about .0082977 USD

True, but I think the original article poster needs to be smacked for saying something as mathematically awkward as ".83 cents". That's saying ".83 hundredths of a dollar". It's really bad form to compound decimals like that, particularly when the currency unit is commonly represented by a decimal like that. But this is /. so brain dead submissions are the norm, and editorial corrections non existent.

Re:Use http://www.xe.com/ucc (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220299)

Read the summary...

Read your post...

Notice that they say the exact same thing...

$0.00829 *is* .83 cents.

Re:Use http://www.xe.com/ucc (1)

Kredal (566494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220316)

.83 cents. Which is .0083 dollars. So the news item's text is correct. (plus or minus .00001773 dollars.)

Re:Use http://www.xe.com/ucc (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220363)

Use http://www.xe.com/ucc [xe.com]

But this is Slashdot, shouldn't we use Google [google.com] instead? :-)

Re:Use http://www.xe.com/ucc (1)

Kumagoro (889194) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220366)

FTA: 1 yen is about .83 cents.

so yes, 1 yen= .83 US CENTS
you'll also notice that 0.0083 US Dollars = .83 US Cents

Try reading every word in a sentence before you go judging it's legitimacy.

Re:Use http://www.xe.com/ucc (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220376)

That's what the article said. .83 CENTs, not DOLLARs.

Re:Use http://www.xe.com/ucc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14220390)

anonymousv("Me too!");

Re:Use http://www.xe.com/ucc (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220404)

The Universal Currency Convertor says: 1,000,000.00 Japan Yen = 8,295.719 USD.

I can already imagine J-list printing up a bunch of t-shirts that say "I'm a millionaire in Japan."

Re:Use http://www.xe.com/ucc (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220432)

And as every other reply has said, .83 cents = .0083 dollars, so it all works out. But it is actually bad form to use a fraction of what is normally the fraction. Ask people how much .24% of 100 dollars is. I'm guessing not many would answer 24 cents, and even those who did see it would probably think it's a typo.

Re:Use http://www.xe.com/ucc (1)

zx75 (304335) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220437)

Take a closer look, the story says 1 yen = 0.83 Cents US which does equal 0.0083 USD, which is close enough for practical purposes.

225 Million != 3 Billion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14220175)

It was a $225 Million, not $3 Billion you troll.

Wild. (2, Interesting)

CronicBurn (316845) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220203)

Still, it's pretty wild that something like this even happened at all. With all the safeguards, and all the people supposed to be watching this type of activity... NO ONE caught it? A lot of people are going to lose their jobs over this one. Luckily they didn't really sell them for 1 yen each. Imagine how hard their market would've taken a fall then?

Im curious how this is going to effect the business itself.

Re:Wild. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14220283)

I used to support the Forex trading desk at a major US investment bank.

Our custom software would alert for this type of error as well, but wold allow you to override and proceed anyways.

However, these were highy paid traders entering the trades, and they do billions in currency trades everyday, so it would be hard to see them making this type of mistake.

You've got to admire the Mizuho execs... (5, Interesting)

The Angry Mick (632931) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220214)

The company made a horrendous mistake and yet, there you see two executives bowing apologetically and taking responsibility on the day it happened .

I have to wonder how a U.S. bank would have handled such a mistake?

Re:You've got to admire the Mizuho execs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14220368)

From my limited experience, I get the impression that when an accident like this happens in Japan, the Japanese are far more concerned with fixing the problem and making sure it doesn't happen again than they are with placing blame on who was responsible. Personal shame makes up for that. We Americans, though, are FAR more concerned with pointing the finger at someone and punishing them into oblivion.

Re:You've got to admire the Mizuho execs... (5, Funny)

Valiss (463641) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220381)

The company made a horrendous mistake and yet, there you see two executives bowing apologetically and taking responsibility on the day it happened .

I have to wonder how a U.S. bank would have handled such a mistake?


Well, I can tell you it wouldn't be the company execs who would be bending over...

Re:You've got to admire the Mizuho execs... (2, Insightful)

symbolic (11752) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220411)

Interesting observation. I have to say that US execs/CEOS, by comparison, act like spoiled little children...they deny responsibility, take as much as they can get away with, constantly inflate their worth (read, delusional - what is so magic about a CEO that the salary has to keep climbing in proportion to the amount everyone else in the company is paid?), etc.

"Look Ma! I led a company into a miserable state, fired 3,000 employees because of it, and gave myself a 10% raise! Wow I must be good!"

Re:You've got to admire the Mizuho execs... (1)

flathead_iv (155332) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220412)

Of course, they didn't acknowledge that there was a problem until after the end of the trading day...

All your shares are belong to us, blahditty blah (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220222)

The only reason this is amusing is that nothing came of it. It makes a scary headline, encourages ill-informed comments about an overseas financial system (bonus points: the currency is an awkward one to mentally associate with dollars or euros, etc), and (to the average reader) somehow makes technology people look bad. This was just a silly thing to report, period.

Bust those trades (4, Informative)

seniorcoder (586717) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220224)

Most exchanges will call the members who have accidentally benefited from another member's mistake and ask them politely to agree to void the deal. Although not obligated to do so, most brokerages typically honor this request as they have to assume that they will be the next ones to make a mistake.

1 Yen is worth 8 cents! (0)

bhny (97647) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220247)

I hope you aren't trading using that conversion rate

The math is wrong, and it never happened (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220257)

So what are we to actually learn from this article?
That the Japanese actually make typos from time to time?

Re:The math is wrong, and it never happened (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220431)

We've learned that Slashdot will happily sensationalize stories to get page views.

We've learned that people ignore warnings built into software because "they know better."

We've learned that wasting time is more fun than working (although this is a general lesson).

We've learned that I have one tiny testicle and one extremely large testicle. I've said too much.

Must have been those damn TPS reports (1)

lightyear4 (852813) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220263)

It's pretty brilliant. What it does is where there's a bank transaction, and the interests are computed in the thousands a day in fractions of a cent, which it usually rounds off. What this does is it takes those remainders and puts it into your account.

Scary forms (3, Interesting)

jfengel (409917) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220307)

A few weeks ago I engaged in some slightly complicated stock transactions, where I sold a company short then issued an order to buy it back if it rose to a certain price (in case it rose unexpectedly). Before I punched the "confirm" button I spent rather a long time making sure that I was saying "Only buy it when it hits that price" not "Offer to buy it at that price", which would have resulted in a huge loss for me.

This guy's problem was presumably different; he knew what the forms meant but entered the wrong numbers. Still, it's kind of scary to be looking at a computer screen and thinking, "I hope this is right, or it's REALLY gonna suck."

I can only assume (2, Funny)

confusedwiseman (917951) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220334)

I can only assume that this was done by an employee who gave their two weeks notice, and was not immediately escorted to the front door.

goodbye /. (-1, Offtopic)

pixelbeat (31557) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220335)

Total noise.
I've been reading every day from the start
no longer, bye.... hello digg.com

Wasn't $3 billion...and wasn't a typo, either (3, Informative)

dmccarty (152630) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220340)

Apparently not even the submitters are reading the articles these days...oh well.

For anyont who RTFA'd, 610,000 shares at 1Y were offered, not bought. The error so far has cost about $224 million, and may eventually cost $250 million. That's a huge cost for a trader error, but it's not $3 billion.

And I don't think this qualifies as a typo. How about "data entry error"? Or how about software bug, since the number of shares sold was more than the number of available shares.

$225 Million (1)

bitfoo (852965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220364)

The mistake was not $3 billion dollars, it was closer to $225 million, as the article fully explains. Sensationalism at its best.

Re:$225 Million (1)

papaia (652949) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220416)

FYI - Reading the news on Digg [digg.com] would have gotten you the correct info. Slashdot is for funny comments, not for precise data.

Not on SlickDeals? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14220371)

Why was this not on SlickDeals...this would have been the slickest deal of the century!

New conversion! (4, Funny)

Lord_Slepnir (585350) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220379)

In addition to a Megabytes -> Library of congresses conversion, we now have a conversion of Frances to USD. I make 4.5833e-8 Frances last year!

Trading typos are hardly that rare... (4, Interesting)

The Grassy Knoll (112931) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220386)

A Lehmann Brothers trader keyed in a £300m sell instead of £3m in 2001 and cost the company £20,000 (in fines, cos he moved the FTSE downwards with such a large sell order).

And a Bear Stearns employee typed in $4bn instead of $4m in 2002, again moving the index (thsi time the Dow Jones) down.

Mostly though these positions are unwound by agreement between the parties. I don't understand why that didn't apply here.

.

Re:Trading typos are hardly that rare... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14220430)

I dont know how to submit this here successfully, but this guy really needs our help

www.onebillionviews.com

Beer is at stake... common folks lets help the idiots :)

Innocent mistake? (1)

Yurka (468420) | more than 8 years ago | (#14220444)

If I were working for the Japanese analog of FTC, my ears would be so-o-o pricked for an sweet inside deal somewhere in the middle of all this exciting stuff right now.
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