Weil's View on Finance, Afternoon Edition

Hello, Viewfinders. Nothing like spending the day watching the Nasdaq Stock Market flatline during regularly scheduled trading hours. Anyway, moving on to today's afternoon links.

How many computer malfunctions can the markets take?

Is this out of hand, or what? Goldman Sachs roiled the options markets by sending a flurry of wrong orders a couple of days ago. Today the Nasdaq halted trading in stocks and options for most of the afternoon. Just another sign the markets' plumbing can't handle the data flowing through it. Click above to see all of the status updates from the Nasdaq today. Awful stuff.

Scholes says Goldman should take a hit

And who can argue with that? From the Financial Times: "Myron Scholes, one of the founding fathers of modern options trading, has said Goldman Sachs and others should be forced to incur huge losses if they make mistaken trades, instead of being able to cancel them." In an interview he said trading houses would be more careful if they had to eat all of the losses associated with computer-program errors and bad algorithms.

Signs of improvement for bank balance sheets

SNL Financial reports that "banks have made notable progress in working through the amount of foreclosed real estate on their balance sheets." A closely watched category on bank balance sheets called "other real estate owned" is down about 21 percent from a year ago, and is at the lowest level since the third quarter of 2009.

How Americans really feel about each other

Great map on Business Insider today. The folks there took the answers from a survey about what Americans think of other states and then compressed the data into a single map. Massachusetts was tops in two categories: smartest and weirdest accent. New York: Rudest, best food, most arrogant. Louisiana: Drunkest. Colorado: Best scenery. Texas was picked as "least favorite," and "would like to see kicked out."

Headline of the day, for all you bootstraps preachers out there, from the Onion (of course)

"Economists Advise Nation's Poor To Invent The Next Facebook."

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