Stock Market Crashes — By Accident?!

The S&P 500 today.

CNBC, citing multiple sources, is currently reporting in that red bar on the top of its site that a mistake by a trader may have caused today’s crash. Jesse Rodriguez’s Twitter says a sell order for “16 billion” in S&P 500 futures was supposed to be an order to sell “16 million.” That’s a big mistake!

UPDATE: CNBC has posted a story on the plunge:

According to multiple sources, a trader entered a “b” for billion instead of an “m” for million in a trade possibly involving Procter & Gamble, a component in the Dow.

UPDATE: A little background: The Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly lost nearly 1,000 points this afternoon, and then spiked back up to end the day down only 348 points.

Many media outlets had been citing fears about Greece’s horrendous credit situation sparking a European debt contagion. Traders certainly are worried about that, but it would be pretty funny to find out that today’s huge spike downward was the result of a typo, or as the experts on CNBC call it, “a fat-finger problem.”

UPDATE: TVNewser has additional coverage of media reactions to today’s stock-market plunge.