Computer Crash Paralyzes London Trading

Dealers miss out on millions in stock market surge
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 9, 2008 1:55 AM CDT
A woman walks past a computerized display showing the FTSE 100 index in west London yesterday.   (AP Photo/Akira Suemori)
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(Newser) – A catastrophic computer crash shut out dismayed London traders from the market yesterday as stocks soared around the world in the wake of the US bailout of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the Times of London reports. The seven-hour systems failure at the London Stock Exchange is estimated to have cost traders millions of dollars on what would have been one of the most profitable trading days of the year.

"It’s disastrous timing," said the chief of one brokerage. The costly glitch is a huge embarrassment for the exchange, and comes as rivals offering ultra-fast systems are cranking up competitive pressure. A spokesman described the outage as a "black swan event"—jargon for something impossible to foresee—and said administrators would do everything in their power to prevent a repeat of the disaster.