There were growing signs that traders had begun to lose their minds this morning, as stock-brokers spontaneously began trading the departure times at Waterloo Station.
Confusion was swiftly accompanied by panic, when other city workers declined simply to pass through the station concourse as normal, and decided instead to huddle around the display boards and barter the departure times of regional train services. Within minutes hundreds of traders had gathered, quickly devising their own ground-rules to suit the new trading environment, whereby the scheduled departure time was traded against the actual time at which the train left the station. Before long, the concourse was filled with deafening calls of ‘Sell, sell, sell – rail replacement bus service in operation’, and ‘Platform alteration – all deals off’.
With the trading floor at the London Stock Exchange now deserted, many brokers claimed they found market conditions at Waterloo far more favourable than those on the FTSE 100, with one young banker commenting: ‘This is brilliant – I just made a killing when the 07.26 to Basingstoke was hit by signal problems and delayed by 45 minutes’. Others however said they had been less lucky – those who had bought shares in the 08.00 to Southampton saw their investments wiped out by a defective train in the Reading area. Meanwhile, there was early evidence of short-selling, as one group of traders were blamed for spreading false rumours that the 08.13 to Southend had been cancelled altogether, despite clear evidence to the contrary on the departure boards.
Traders were undecided as to whether the so called ‘Rolling-Stock Market’ would become a permanent fixture. One claimed that the prevalence of weekend engineering works made market conditions difficult, while another was eager to make the most of the new system, saying: ‘not only is this a far more stable trading infrastructure than we’re used to, but it also makes for a much easier commute’.
Police have advised members of the public not to approach any delusional stock-brokers. ‘We’re just hoping that they’ll somehow just recover, regaining the sanity that gave us all the lending and investment policies of the past few years.’