This Week’s Stock Market Drop was Machine-Made. The Freakout That Followed Was Man-Made.

“Dow plunges 391 points as fear grips markets.” A headline from two days ago? Try two years ago. Jan. 15, 2016, to be precise. The last time stocks exhibited the sharp sell-off — followed by an equally sharp run-up — that characterized the past few days. Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average was down about 1,600 points, the largest intraday point-drop ever,

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