Market goes nuts - VTI down 33%, recovers 29% in a matter of a few minutes

Wild ride on the market today.  (Still ongoing.)  VTI (Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF) was down 33% at one point, and then in a matter of a few minutes recovered nearly 29%.  (Note that this was not how much the actual stocks in the ETF went down as ETFs are priced by the highest bidder; many ETFs suffered presumably from liquidity issues.  Hence, my title is a bit misleading.)  The Dow sunk nearly 1000 points, or 9.8%, and quickly shot back up 600 points.  Heck, VB (Vanguard Small Cap ETF) was down 96% at one point (to 0.1; the bid price that is, the ask was still somewhat normal so purchasing at that price wouldn't have gone through) and then quickly shot back up.   Some people made a whole lot of money today, while others lost a bundle.  

I can't even load the Yahoo! Finance webpage.  Apparently, several people are unable to access their brokerage accounts.

Get this: it appears that an order went through for 39,000 shares of VTI for around $39!  VTI is now at 57.6.  That computer made somebody a lot of money.
More to come....

Update 4:05 PM ET: CNBC is reporting that the crash was caused by a trading error at Citigroup.  Earlier reported simply to be a "major firm."

Update 7:30 PM ET: It appears that there was a technical glitch in a variety of stocks, including P&G.  Nasdaq and NYSE are canceling all trades that moved more than 60%.  So, any of those VB trades at ridiculously low prices are canceled; however, the VTI trade @ 39 will stand as it's within 60%.

Update 5/7/10:  It seems as if the "fat fingers" theory blamed on Citigroup was pre-mature, and there is no evidence to substantiate it.


  1. Now get ready for the narratives. Pundits will explain why it was so obvious that the market was overvalued and due for a serious plunge. Although last week this time few saw it. CNBC will trot out the bears! Contagion is scary.

  2. Yep, they already have pundits on CNBC saying that two weeks ago they moved their positions to be more conservative....right. They're now reporting that the crash was caused by a trading error at a major firm. Somebody reported that an order went through with a B (for billion) instead of an M (million). Check out P&G. That's some crazy stuff.

  3. I know what they're talking about when they say "fat finger". It's why I can't text.
    Would it have been an error if the market went their way?

  4. It is amazing how little things can affect the market in a big way.


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