Post Your Favorite "Why the Market Turned" Story Here

As I frequently say, providing live commentary on market moves is sort of like reporting on Brownian motion in a coffee cup — but that doesn’t prevent people (including me) from doing it and often making unfalsifiable statements.

Case in point: today. The major U.S. markets turned and tumbled at 2pm, going from record highs to a loss of around 100 points. So, why’d it happen? I was pinged by a number of people asking (and others answering), so I’ll just repeat a few:

  • A popular ETF sold off at 2pm, and that took things down
  • JP Morgan made negative comments on Baidu
  • Selling programs (a personal favorite of mine)
  • Comments from European Central Bank president Axel Weber, who said that Eurozone rates might have to rise
  • An unnamed hedge fund was on the brink of closing (a perennial favorite)
  • Investors realized that while Wal-mart was reporting good numbers, most of retail wasn’t
  • Technology “profit-taking” (a blast from the past)

No-one cited Alan Greenspan, which was a Feel free to add more Popper-piquing excuses below.


  1. Sheesh, everyone knows it was global warming.

  2. More sellers than buyers.

  3. John McCaw says:

    A false positive from the Advanced Market Panic Protection System?

  4. One of my co-workers who day trades loves to explain incremental moves in a company’s stock price during the day with phrases like “profit-taking.” Cracks me up. I can always imagine Nassim Taleb sputtering with anger every time he says something like that.

  5. Absolutely and entirely because I took a loss on my puts of the Q’s in the AM.

  6. My mentor in portfolio management always had the ready answer for this one:

    “Because there were more sellers than buyers.”

  7. Easy: anticipation of the 20th anniversary. And sunspots. And Satan.
    P.S. Aren’t the graphs in this presentation embarrassing enough without the Black Swan citation in the beginning?

  8. Stop-loss cascade. And Satan.

  9. A wizard did it.

  10. Too many cats.

  11. My super-secret Ninja powers.

  12. Profit Taking