Trading in thousands of U.S. stocks ground to a halt for much of Thursday after an unexplained technological problem shut down trading in Nasdaq securities, the latest prominent disruption to the operations of U.S. markets.
Reuters News reports that Nasdaq resumed trading at around 3:25 p.m. EDT (1925 GMT), after a 3-hour, 11-minute shutdown of trading in such familiar names as Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and about 3,200 other companies.
The shutdown was the longest in recent memory, and prompted U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White to call for a meeting of Wall Street leaders to help insure the 'continuous and orderly' functioning of securities markets.
Late on Thursday, Nasdaq's parent Nasdaq OMX Group Inc said it halted trading after learning that the Securities Information Processor, or SIP, which consolidates stock prices, was not disseminating price quotations.
During the shutdown, trading of shares not listed on Nasdaq continued, but transactions could not be executed on the Nasdaq platform. Options trading was also halted.
Nasdaq's own stock, which was up 0.8% before the halt, closed down 3.4%, after earlier trading down as much as 5.4%. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq index .IXIC itself closed up 1.1%, higher than where it was before the halt.
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Here is the City note: Across the internet there has been great reaction, both serious and light hearted to the Nasdaq outage. The New York Times, for instance, highlighted some Tweets as Wall Street took to social media to voice their opinions on the matter: The Nasdaq Is Down? It’s Time to Tweet.
Reuters also reported that despite the crash, officials had the problem fixed within half an hour, nearly two hours before it was all switched back on: paralysed Nasdaq opted for caution over speed in restoring trade.
image: © Justin Marty