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TheStreet Open House

Google Bungle Fuels Twitter Babble

Traders following the arcana of high frequency stock trading and raised questions on what traders could -- and couldn't do -- as Google's shares were halted.

"Rule 201 short sale circuit breaker did activate once down 10%. no shorting on bid," wrote Joe Saluzzi of Themis Trading. Saluzzi's Themis counterpart Sal Arnuk also highlighted that high frequency trading market makers could short Google's shares off of the Nasdaq (NDAQ) exchange without having to find buyers.

According to Arnuk, after the company's 10% stock dive, the Securities and Exchange Commission's short sale rules kicked in, blocking most traders from selling Google's shares. However, Arnuk contends high frequency trading market makers are exempt from such prohibitions.

"Would $GOOG have tanked -10% so fast if HFT market makers were required to get a locate for stock before they short, like all other participants?," wrote Arnuk on Twitter.

Eric Scott Hunsader of high frequency trading data provider Nanex LLC noted an unusual put option trade against Google's shares - a bet on a decline in the company's stock - just an hour before earnings were erroneously released. "How rare was that $GOOG put option buy an hour before the drop? Only one of its kind in months," wrote Hunsader.

As is often the case on Twitter when a fiasco hits newswires, new parody Twitter handles emerged to poke fun at the situation. A handle titled Pending Larry was created shortly after the earnings release, to poke fun at Google's situation and in particular, a part of the release that said ""PENDING LARRY QUOTE" - referring to Google chief executive Larry Page.

" First thing I said after SEC filing went out: "Oh, Schmidt!"," wrote Pending Larry, referring to former CEO Eric Schmidt. "I mean...it's 4:30pm somewhere in the world, right?," added Pending Larry. "Thought that Groupon deal for SEC document filing was too good to be true. You really do get what you pay for," another Tweet.

TheStreet will be live-blogging Google's earnings call, starting at 3.45 PM ET:

Interested in more on Google? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

-- Written by Antoine Gara and Chris Ciaccia in New York

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