Futures on Germany’s benchmark DAX Index plunged as much as 7.1 percent today as a cascade of trades pushed them down by 100 points in less than two seconds.
Contracts expiring in September plunged to 5,701 at 10:52 a.m. and 47 seconds in Frankfurt today from 5,801 two seconds earlier, according to data on processed trades compiled by Bloomberg. The futures extended losses to fall as much 7.1 percent to 5,533.5 as the underlying gauge posted the largest decline since December 2008. The DAX tumbled 346.14, or 5.8 percent, to 5,602.8 at the 5:30 p.m. close.
The contracts were placed in a volatility interruption for two minutes after the slide, Heiner Seidel, a spokesman for Deutsche Boerse AG’s Eurex derivatives exchange in Frankfurt, said by phone. More than 9,700 DAX futures changed hands in the five minutes starting at 9:50 a.m., Bloomberg data show, compared with 660 in the previous five minutes.
“The DAX dropped like a stone,” said Markus Huber, head of German sales trading at ETX Capital in London. “In a market like this to trade this amount is unusual. Somebody would only do this if they have news that something really big is about to happen otherwise you would feed 15,000 futures over period of a day or two sell every time the market rallies.”
More than 15,000 September put options to sell the DAX at 5,000 changed hands today, Bloomberg data show. More than 244,000 puts were traded today, compared with the four-week average of 171,784.
Puts give the buyer the right to sell shares at a pre- agreed price on or before a set date, while calls convey the right to buy.
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