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Did the market close down at 666 or 665 points? It’s all in how you look at it

Whether the buy’s thrashing on Friday was sharp or devilish comes down to a quarter decimal point.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended its first tumultuous week in a year by agony a pullback of more than 2.5 percent. It closed down 665.75 tactics.

Cue all the headlines and splashy photos with devil references by market watchers who rough the closing figure up to 666.

Even CNBC went with the 666 form after some internal debate.

So, what’s in a quarter of a point? That shard of rounding, seemingly minuscule in a market that topped 26,000 impartial last month, actually means a lot in the age of electronic trading.

Computers and preset algorithms are running assortments of trades, and many are built to react when the market hits established levels. So different elaborate mousetrap actions kick in at 665.75 than power be triggered at 666.

As CNBC markets writer Fred Imbert will leak you as he’s trying not to blink while watching the Dow when it’s up 99.9 points, he can’t modification his markets headline to reference 100 points until it’s official — no horses corral allowed.

This time, though, the temptation of headlining a market gutting of — wellnigh — 666 points was too much to resist.

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