NEW YORK (AP) — A computerized selloff possibly caused by a simple typographical error triggered one of the most turbulent days in Wall Street history Thursday and sent the Dow Jones industrials to a loss of almost 1,000 points, nearly a tenth of their value, in less than half an hour. It was the biggest drop ever during a trading day.

The Dow recovered two-thirds of the loss before the closing bell, but that was still the biggest point loss since February of last year. The lightning-fast plummet temporarily knocked normally stable stocks such as Procter & Gamble to a tiny fraction of their former value and sent chills down investors’ spines.

☞ As the one engineer says to the other after their trains collide and they find themselves up in the air, nose to nose, in the British movie “The Wrong Box” – “We ’aven’t ’eard the last of this, Oyl whyger!” (Or words to that effect.)

But leaving aside the technical glitch, there was Greece (and the wider implications some fear it will have).

And there were investors planning to get out of the market, after its huge run up, at the first sign of trouble (and/or before the traditionally challenging June through October period) – Greece gave them a good excuse.

And isn’t the British Petroleum catastrophe unsettling?

And did the government’s Goldman Sachs lawsuit not sound awfully like the “bell” they famously don’t ring at the end of a bull market (but everyone strains to hear anyway)?

Normally, it’s good to remember that the sun will come out tomorrow – even in Greece. But what if Katla blows, at it often does not long after its volcanic neighbor? At ten times the expected force, it might not be sunny for some time.

But when isn’t there something to worry about. The Cuban missile crisis? We survived it and the market is up 20-fold. The Kennedy Assassination? The Vietnam debacle and Kennedy/King assassinations of 1968? Watergate? The 1987 market crash? Anthrax?

Our challenges are enormous (and I haven’t sold the gold suggested here). But we’re making headway. Keep your head down and your chin up.


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