NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Investment firm Waddell & Reed responded Friday to a media report that it placed a large sell order for certain stock futures that regulators believe may have contributed to last week's brief-but-historic stock market crash.
In what has come to be known as the flash crash, the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 1,000 points -- the biggest intra-day trading drop ever -- on May 6, briefly erasing $1 trillion in market value, before regaining much of the lost ground.
While the ultimate cause of the collapse remains unknown, regulators have focused their investigation on a sharp drop in the value of a stock future called the E-mini S&P 500, which investors use to bet on the future performance of stocks in the broad stock index.
Waddell, an asset management and financial planning company based in Overland Park, Kan., sold a large order of E-mini futures contracts during a 20-minute span that corresponded with the plunge, according to a document obtained by Reuters.
In a statement, Waddell said it was one of possibly 250 other investors trading the E-mini futures contract on the day in question.
"On May 6, as on many trading days, Waddell & Reed executed several trading strategies, including index futures contracts, as part of the normal operation of our flexible portfolio funds," the firm said in a statement.
Waddell added that such trades are used to protect investors from potential losses, adding that the firm is a "'bona fide hedger' and not someone intending to disrupt the markets."
"This is a longstanding and well-monitored practice in certain of our investment portfolios," said Waddell.
Waddell (WAD) shares fell 5% to $32.38 Friday.
Gary Gensler, chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said in congressional testimony Tuesday that regulators were focusing on one particular trader in the market for E-mini futures as part of the commission's investigation into the flash crash.
Gensler said the trader in question entered the market at around 2:32 p.m. ET on May 6 and finished trading by around 2:51 p.m. ET. He said this trader and others had executed hedging strategies of similar size previously.
|Overnight Avg Rate||Latest||Change||Last Week|
|30 yr fixed||3.85%||3.87%|
|15 yr fixed||3.05%||3.05%|
|30 yr refi||3.85%||3.87%|
|15 yr refi||3.07%||3.06%|
Today's featured rates:
This electric car start-up still has only prototypes so far, but they have big plans to take a chunk of the market. More
President Trump is keeping his word to 'do a big number' on the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law by signing orders that seek to review regulators' authority to unwind a bank on the brink of failure and to label nonbank firms as risky institutions. More
In 1998, Ntsiki Biyela won a scholarship to study wine making. Now she's about to launch her own brand. More
Investing a small portion of your retirement savings in gold would add diversification to your portfolio, but it's probably not necessary. More