The screen shot of a FactSet data platform above tells a big story. In the lower right hand corner is a chart of Procter & Gamble’s stock trading. At one point in the afternoon, the stock fell more than $20 before recovering. Some are linking that spike lower to an overall 1,000 decline in the Dow industrials – and similar frantic trading across all financial markets here.
Billions of dollars were wiped out of the stock market (the Dow eventually recovered to being down 347 points). We don’t know yet if this was a program trade gone nuts or, as was being rumored late in the afternoon, a series of trades made in error.
But here’s what we do know: Procter & Gamble’s stock, like most other big capitalization stocks, usually trade up or down in terms of cents, not dollars. In other words, if you look at all trades occuring, you will see little price movement from trade to trade. I took a few screen shots off my CQG data platform and those screen shots show exrtremely wild and volatile trading in P&G’s shares between 2:46 p.m. and 2:48 p.m. today.
At one point in the 2:46 p.m. minute, there was a P&G trade executed at $56.11. The next trade was at $49.09. In the 2:47 p.m. minute, there were price gaps between trades of $3 to $4 – I stop counting when I saw six such trades, including one instance of a nearly $10 drop. One trade occurred at $48.67 and the next trade at $39.37.
The various stock exchanges and the Securities and Exchange Commission say they are exploring what trades to cancel. I look on my CQG platform now and those trades (and many others in that time period) have disappeared. My FactSet platform has a notation that says there have been some corrections.
At a time when financial markets are on the edge already because of the unstable financial situation of several European countries, bogus trades that whipsaw the stock and other markets are the last thing you need.