Friday, August 17, 2007

Stock, Mayhem & Waterman

This news clip had me laughing today.

Apparently, an error in one of the subsystems of the Nordic Stock Exchange (OMX) put the Maersk stock on the market for a measly 1,99 Danish crowns. 150 transactions went through, before the error was discovered. One transaction involved 556.200 stocks - which, in a less unforgiving world, would have saved the lucky buyer more than 35 billion Danish crowns (since the Maersk stock is generally going for about 65.000 DKR each).

The faulty transactions are, of course, already annulled. However, I wonder how they measure the indirect costs of the error. If we assume it took 10 minutes before the error was corrected and the assets were frozen, then a drop of, say, 2% (the Danish stock fell quite a bit during the first hours of today) would mean that the sellers "avoided" losses of nearly 15 mio. DKR.
Of course, I expect that the stock value is written back and updated correctly. And if it is not, then I'm going into brokering software.

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