Typo with serious consequences
CNBC has reported, according to Reuters, that a trading error at a major firm was responsible for the plunge in the US stockmarket value earlier today.
The Dow Jones was down by more than 9% at one point during trading. It closed down 3.2%, still a significant fall for a day, but a big improvement on what was the biggest fall since 1987.
We are waiting for a more detailed explanation of what might have gone wrong. If this was down to a typo, it could have had very serious consequences. With the markets incredibly nervous about the degree of exposure global banks have to Greek debt, any bad news could prompt large movements in share values.
As well as share prices falling, other assets also moved in price. Bonds, seen as a safe haven in times of stockmarket turbulence, went up. The US dollar fell by around 6% against the Yen. The price of a barrel of crude oil lost $2.86 to arrive at $77.11 a barrel in New York.
With the polls closed in the UK and the votes being counted, it will be interesting to see how the FTSE reacts in the morning to a new government and an overseas trading typo.