6. Shock and Awe

When the May 6 trading day ended, total trading volume had reached 19.4 billion shares—2.2 times the average daily trading volume in the fourth quarter of 2009. New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)-listed stock volume was the second highest in history across all trading venues, whereas NASDAQ-listed stock trading in all venues hit a new record high. Investor confidence was shaken, and official Washington, DC, no fan of Wall Street, was roused to indignation.

President Obama summoned Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and White House Economic Advisor Larry Summers to the Oval Office at 3:15 p.m. to brief him on the situation. The President, who had been hammered in the press for poor generalship at the outset of the BP oil leak, obviously ...

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