NEW YORK, April 23 The U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commision is looking into a 'bogus' tweet on the
Associated Press Twitter account that sent markets into a
tailspin on Tuesday, SEC Commissioner Daniel Gallagher said.
Hackers took control of the AP's account and sent a false
tweet about two explosions in the White House that injured
President Barack Obama. The false news sent a wave of brief but
intense panic selling across financial markets before it became
clear it was a hoax.
Thomson Reuters data showed the benchmark S&P 500 index
fell 14.6 points, or 0.93 percent, in the space of 3
minutes when the tweet hit the market. With the S&P 500 valued
at about $14.6 trillion at the time of the false tweet, the
plunge briefly wiped out $136.5 billion of the index's value.
"You can rest assured we're looking into it," Gallagher said
in an interview to be aired on Reuters Digital TV later on
"I can't tell you exactly what the facts are at this point
or what we're looking for, but for sure, we want to understand
major swings like that, however short it was," he said.
After the "Flash Crash" on May 6, 2010, when the Dow Jones
industrial average plunged hundreds of points in a matter
of minutes, the SEC has taken a number of measures, including
introducing single-stock circuit breakers designed to dampen
extreme volatility in markets.
Seeing how some of those measures held up during Tuesday's
volatility will be an important test of the effectiveness of the
SEC's measure, Gallagher said.
"It'll be interesting to see what, if any, circuit breakers
were triggered, because obviously that's been a large part of
the commission's market structure agenda for the last couple of
years since May 6," he said, referring to the 2010 "flash