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Did a Big Bet Help Trigger 'Black Swan' Stock Swoon?

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"Shortly after 2:15 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday, hedge fund Universa Investments LP placed a big bet in the Chicago options trading pits that stocks would continue their sharp declines. On any other day, this $7.5 million trade for 50,000 options contracts might have briefly hurt stock prices, though not caused much of a ripple. But coming on a day when all varieties of financial markets were deeply unsettled, the trade may have played a key role in the stock-market collapse just 20 minutes later."

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