Nasdaq market paralyzed by three hour shutdown

Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:50pm EDT
 
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By Chuck Mikolajczak and Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK (Reuters) - 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.

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 Inc, Facebook Inc, Google Inc, Microsoft Corp 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.

"Any brokerage firm gets paid by executing orders," said Sal Arnuk, co-head of equity trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey. "So yes, we are frustrated, and this hurts us, it hurts the market and it hurts public confidence."

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.

It said a "connectivity issue" between an unnamed exchange participant and the SIP caused the breakdown, and that the cause has been "identified and addressed."

Nasdaq also said technical issues were resolved within 30 minutes and that it worked with other exchanges, regulators and market participants to ensure an orderly resumption of trading.

"NASDAQ OMX will work with other exchanges that are members of the SIP to investigate the issues of today, and we will support any necessary steps to enhance the platform," it said.   Continued...

 
A woman holds an umbrella as she walks past the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York's Times Square, August 22, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson