Nasdaq Trading Halted Due To Computer Glitch
The latest high-tech disruption in the financial markets has increased pressure on Nasdaq and other electronic exchanges to take steps to avoid future breakdowns.
A three-hour trading outage on the Nasdaq stock exchange on Thursday is expected to trigger new rounds of regulatory scrutiny on computer-driven trading, as investors' shaky confidence in the markets takes another hit.
Trading in the Nasdaq, a major stock exchange dominated by the biggest names in technology, suffered the outage after a "technical glitch".
The disruption sent brokers scurrying to figure out what went wrong and raised new questions about the pitfalls of computer-driven stock trading.
Other US exchanges continued trading normally.
Nasdaq CEO Robert Greifeld said that unspecified, external factors caused the glitch, and that the exchange followed all the proper procedures to correct the problem.
"We all have to be aware of the other person not acting always in the proper way, and you have to have your system be able to handle defensive driving," Mr Greifeld said.
"We're deeply disappointed with what happened yesterday. We aspire to perfection. We want to get to 100% up time."
The Nasdaq freeze echoed earlier stock market problems, such as the sudden plunge in stocks in May 2010 that came to be known as the "flash crash" and the glitch-plagued initial public offering of Facebook last year.
The exchange sent out an alert to traders saying that trading was being halted until further notice because of problems with a quote dissemination system.
Nasdaq said it would not cancel any open orders on Thursday, but that customers could cancel orders if they wanted to.
Securities and Exchange Commission spokesman John Nester said: "We are monitoring the situation and are in close contact with the exchanges."