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Whenever the DJIA begins a rapid plummet, CNBC will mention that the "curbs are on." From the context, it is clear that someone is doing something to slow the descent of the market. By searching Fool.Com, I determined that curbs are programs designed to settle the market at various predetermined points, beginning with a 50 point drop.

I've looked, but I cannot find a definition of what these programs do. What exactly is a curb, and how does it settle the market? It could buy stocks, but who pays for the purchases?

Thanks for tolerating ignorance!
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