Securities and Futures Markets:

Assessment of SEC and CFTC Studies of October 1989 Market Volatilities

GGD-90-108BR: Published: Jul 17, 1990. Publicly Released: Jul 17, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's (CFTC) reports on the stock market events of October 13 and 16, 1989.

GAO found that: (1) SEC and CFTC used information that did not completely or precisely reconstruct trading events, due to data problems involving accuracy, sequencing, and reporting; (2) SEC did not have a large-trader reporting system to help it reconstruct nonfutures-related equity trading; (3) generalizations about stock market activities could not be made from the reports, since they focused on a single event during a narrow, volatile time period; (4) although both SEC and CFTC relied on the same data in their reports, the agencies emphasized different factors and had different perspectives in their report conclusions; and (5) Congress has proposed legislation that would enhance trading data quality.

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