U.S. program to curb stock price swings triggered frequently

Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:03pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The roll-out of a new program to limit wild price swings in publicly traded securities triggered dozens of trading halts on Monday as highly illiquid names were phased into the program.

By the session's end, 48 exchange-traded products (ETPs) had been halted or paused on NYSE Arca, a unit of exchange operator NYSE Euronext, according to trading information provided by exchange operator Nasdaq OMX Group Inc.

Seven other securities were halted on Nasdaq.

About 570 securities were rolled out on NYSE Arca as part of the second phase of the "Limit UP, Limit Down" program, which was approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission last year.

A trading halt is triggered if a price rises or falls more than 5 percent over a five-minute span for the most heavily traded shares, composed mostly of securities with a market cap of about $1.8 billion or greater.

The second phase of the program, with the price band widening to 10 percent to trigger a halt, includes more illiquid stocks, some of which do not trade on many days.

A NYSE Euronext spokeswoman said the new program was in its initial phase of an expanded universe of ETPs. She said the exchange was working within established guidelines and would explore the trading limits with regulators and other exchanges.

NYSE Arca accounts for about 90 percent of ETPs, a reason why so many of the trading halts occurred on its platform.

The SEC declined to comment.   Continued...

An exterior shot of the New York Stock Exchange in New York December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly