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Citigroup: No fat fingers here

By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Citigroup denied on Friday the "rumors" that one of its traders caused Thursday's stock market landslide by pressing the wrong key because of a fat finger.

The rumors suggested that the trader hit a "b" key, representing the sale of a billion shares, instead of an "m" key for million.

"As we have said, based on our review, rumors about a trading error by Citi are unfounded," said Citigroup, in a press statement. "It is troubling that inaccurate and unfounded rumors were spread as far as they were."

With this statement, Citigroup (C, Fortune 500) hopes to absolve itself of blame for the extreme market volatility that occurred on Thursday. The Dow went on a wild ride, making a historic plunge of nearly 1,000 points before partially recovering to close down 348.

A fat-fingered trader may not be to blame, but what did happen is still being investigated.

As a result, Nasdaq said it would negate trading on 296 stocks that plunged at least 60% between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Thursday. While those stocks will have their share prices pushed back up as a result, owners of other stocks that experienced less than 60% declines, such as Procter and Gamble (PG, Fortune 500), 3M (MMM, Fortune 500) and Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500), are caught holding the bag. Their losses were steep, ranging from 21.5% to 37%, but not steep enough to have their slates swept clean.

The Citigroup "rumors" generated plenty of Internet banter and mockery -- with some people evoking a famous episode on "The Simpsons" where Homer's fingers are too fat to dial a phone properly.

In the episode, an automatic phone message tells Homer, "The fingers you have used to dial are too fat. To obtain a special dialing wand please mash the keypad with your palm now."

The Nasdaq and Duncan Niederauer, chief executive of the New York Stock Exchange, also denied that the stock slide was caused by a market glitch. To top of page

Citigroup denied on Friday the "rumors" that one of its traders caused Thursday's stock market landslide by pressing the wrong key because of a fat finger.

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Index Last Change % Change
Dow 19,885.73 -5.27 -0.03%
Nasdaq 5,574.12 26.63 0.48%
S&P 500 2,274.64 4.20 0.18%
Treasuries 2.38 0.02 0.80%
Data as of Jan 14
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 23.01 0.09 0.39%
FMC Technologies Inc... 35.85 -0.15 -0.42%
Wells Fargo & Co 55.31 0.81 1.49%
Freeport-McMoRan Inc... 15.19 -0.08 -0.52%
Ford Motor Co 12.63 0.04 0.32%
Data as of Jan 13
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