Patt Morrison for May 6, 2010

What’s several hundred points between stocks? Dow Jones fluctuates by nearly 1,000 points

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The Dow Jones Industrial took a dive today

At one point today it looked like Armageddon on Wall Street, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average was losing 10% of its value, down nearly 1,000 points as investors fled everything from stocks and bonds to commodities. It has since recovered and looks to close at a loss of about 3% of its total value, which is a bad day but nearly as bad as it could have been. As losses piled up, mostly fueled by protests in Greece over the EU bailout plan, and the Dow went into freefall traders entered the “people jumping out of windows” territory, according to one analyst. Strangely, much of the losses were blamed on a 50% drop in stock price for Proctor & Gamble. But even stranger is a report from numerous sources claiming that a trader entered a "b" for billion instead of an "m" for million in a P&G trade. This simple alphabetical error may have caused the entire panic. What does such a volatile day on Wall Street mean for the overall economy and is this a blip on the radar screen or an ominous sign of things to come?

Guest:

Peter McKay, reporter for the Wall Street Journal


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