This week was a historical week on Wall Street. Within the first few minutes of trading Monday morning the Dow Jones was down 1,000 points and the SP500 -5%. There was panic in the air; we had hundreds of mini flash crashes in stocks and ETF’s. The QQQ after the open was down 17%. Many Good Til Cancel stop orders were hit at levels way below where they were set. I heard of one situation in which the broker had a stop for GE at $23 and was executed a shade below $20. To throw salt to the wound, the stock comes back immediately and closes at $23.87.
Real money and confidence were lost in the market this week. Investors pulled a record $29.5 billion from equity funds in the week up to August 26. What used to take weeks to months to play out will probably take days to weeks now. With all the real-time information, easy access to accounts, and social media, investors can now panic in real time. And panic happens in both directions. Many investors spend their day reading 25 blogs a day which pulls them in 17 different directions. The focus should be tuning out the noise.