Over $600 billion worth of stock on the Japanese market was ordered and then abruptly canceled Wednesday before they could be executed, possibly the result of a so-called “fat finger” error, or accidental order.
Stock requests totaled 67.78 trillion ten, or $617 billion, and included 57% of outstanding shares in Toyota, the world’s biggest carmaker, and large stakes in Honda, Canon, and Sony, Bloomberg reports. Based on electronic orders to buy or sell stock, market makers and arbitragers use computerized strategies to anticipate demand or profit from price discrepancies. Orders are often withdrawn, but investors were surprised by the scale of Wednesday’s cancellations.
“I’ve never heard of orders this big being canceled before,” Ayako Sera, a Tokyo-based market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank Ltd., which oversees about $474 billion, told Bloomberg. “There must have been an error.”
The Japan Securities Dealers Association received an error report before the orders were matched.