United States stock markets were thrown into turmoil on Wednesday morning after more than 100 stocks were hit with a surge of volatile and unexpected trading immediately after markets opened.
The New York Stock Exchange said later in the morning that it was reviewing "irregular trading" that occurred soon after the 9:30 a.m. opening bell in 148 stocks listed on the exchange. Many of the nation's most popular stocks were among those that saw extreme price swings, including Citigroup, Bank of America and American Airlines.
The event draws renewed attention to the increasing fragility of the United States stock markets as they have grown more fragmented and reliant on high-speed-trading firms like Knight. The volatility recalled the so-called flash crash of May 6, 2010, when the entire American market dropped nearly 10 percent in about a quarter of an hour.
Now, you can have a spate of bad economic data and the market will go up because the Market expects central bank intervention ( i.e. QE2, LTRO, Operation Twist, et al ) or because the big banks are so big that they can "squeeze" short-sellers out of their positions.