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EXTRAORDINARY ITEMS – City firms hit by stiff little fingers.

Ronald Reagan’s finger on the button was nothing to worry about – certainly not compared to the crisis at Salomon Brothers’ London office last year. According to research group Bloor’s website, the French ten-year bond took a tumble on futures markets one day. Not because of meltdown in the Far East, nor the Russian bank crisis. The collapse was caused by a trader who issued 145 sell orders – all because of a sticky “Sell” key on his keyboard. Less drastic – but no less embarrassing – was the case of a City bank with a dodgy telephone system. Dealers got fed up with the delay in getting a dialing tone after dialing 9 for an outside line – and pressed the key repeatedly in fast and furious frustration. You’ve guessed correctly: the old bill showed up asking the traders to please not all phone the emergency services at once.

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