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A six-year-old article mistakenly seen by Bloomberg financial news users yesterday reported the bankruptcy of United Airlines and triggered a massive sell-off that nearly obliterated the company's stock in a matter of minutes.
The light-speed wipeout is a powerful reminder of how quickly bad information can spread via the Internet to a trigger-happy Wall Street that is willing to dump millions in stock before checking the facts. And it showed how the imperfect technologies of Internet search combined with human failure can cause ruinous results.
United parent company UAL opened trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market yesterday at $12.17 per share. The 2002 bankruptcy article appeared on Bloomberg monitors on Wall Street just before 11 a.m. In the minutes that followed, some 15 million shares of UAL traded and the stock plunged to $3 per share. Trading was halted at 11:30 a.m. for an hour. The stock closed down $1.38 at $10.92 yesterday.
Tribune, Google trade blame in United Airlines stock fiasco
....UAL blamed the mess on a posting of a 2002 Chicago Tribune article on the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's website.
The story then was picked up by Income Securities Advisors, a Florida investment newsletter, and disseminated as a one-line brief over Bloomberg News -- triggering a wave of panic selling.
Tribune Co., the owner of the Sun-Sentinel (and also the parent of The Times), initially pointed a finger at Google Inc., saying it appeared that the search engine highlighted the story out of the Sun-Sentinel's archives over the weekend, which generated traffic and caused the newspaper's computer to move the story to a page of most-viewed articles...
Originally posted by Agit8dChop
Or of how a few select people can orchestrate something to make them millions.
'' ill make United go to 3$ tommorow, when it drops, put in a mil, by the end of the day, you'll be happy ''