System Failure: Black Monday's other crash

Black Monday's other crash

Computer-launched program trades have been widely blamed for the severity of the Oct. 19 crash. Most analyses of Black Monday, however, have assumed that the stock-exchange computers on the receiving end of the selling torrent held up fairly well. Not so, says a report released last week by the General Accounting Office, the congressional investigative arm. According to the GAO, the computer systems that handle securities trading on the New York Stock Exchange suffered repeated breakdowns the week of the crash, adding significantly to the confusion and fueling the selling panic. "The October crash was a crisis that nearly became a...

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