Reality always trifles with it.
An automated stock trading program suddenly flooded the market with millions of trades Wednesday morning, spreading turmoil across Wall Street and drawing renewed attention to the fragility and instability of the nation’s stock markets.
While the broad stock indexes quickly recovered and ended the day slightly down, it was the latest black eye for the financial markets.
The errant trades began hitting exchanges almost as soon as the opening bell rang and came from a single New Jersey broker that specializes in computer-driven trading, the Knight Capital Group. Shares of more than 100 companies, including big names like Alcoa, Citigroup and Ford suddenly spiked up or down. The New York Stock Exchange had most of the mistaken orders, but all of the nation’s exchanges executed trades for Knight and all agreed to cancel the trading in six stocks that had especially extreme movements …
The trades placed by Knight may have left the firm with millions of shares of overpriced stocks that quickly lost their value after the chaos ended, but the company did not comment on its potential losses …
Knight later said that “a technology issue occurred” in the division of the company that uses computer algorithms to buy and sell stocks from other market participants.
On the other hand, if you conduct a meaningful public poll on how much average Americans really care about “the financial sector” being protected against cyberattacks, you might get an earful on how they’d like to be protected from the financial sector.