Trading on the New York Stock Exchange resumed shortly after 3 p.m. on Wall Street today.
The exchange attributed the four-hour outage to still-unexplained technical issues. NYSE equities continued to trade on other exchanges and the S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group was down 1.5 percent to 1,135.58 once the exchange got back up and running. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.4 percent, or 250.23 points, to 17,526.68.
The exchange first experienced trading problems this morning with roughly 200 stocks, including Nordstrom Inc., Macy’s Inc. and Kate Spade & Co. That problem was resolved and those stocks were able to trade. But at about 11:30, shares stopped trading on the Big Board all together.
Technical problems happen occasionally with trading systems, but this is the first time it has occurred since the Intercontinental Exchange purchased the New York Stock Exchange last year. Many of the employees from NYSE who would’ve handled such problems in the past are no longer with the firm, so this is the first test of the ICE employees to resolve this problem.
Traders didn’t appear to be overly concerned as most trading takes place at the opening and close of the trading day and approximately 90 percent of the midday trading is diverted outside the exchange.
It had been a sleepy summer day on the exchange and the traders are just diverting trades away for now. The NYSE is in the process of canceling midday trades and in early afternoon the traders it expects to reopening shortly.
The NYSE has said there is no hacking issue, although the coincidence of the United Airline computer glitch and the Wall Street Journal Web site going down on the same day has conspiracy theorists working overtime. Suggestions of Chinese hackers looking to divert attention away from their market woes have been tossed around.
The still unexplained snafu comes at a time of great vulnerability for global markets.
China’s stock market is in the middle of a melt down and authorities there have stopped trading in some issues and put other restrictions on the market forces. In Shanghai, the SSE Composite Index lost 5.9 percent to 3,507.19, pulling down the market in Hong Kong, where the Hang Seng Index fell 5.8 percent to 23,516.56.
And investors in Europe remain extremely uneasy as Greece continues to try to negotiate with its creditors, a process that if it fails could see the country drop the euro. European markets, however, closed up just before the NYSE halted trading. Frankfurt’s DAX gained 0.7 percent to 10,747.30 as the CAC 40 in Paris rose 0.8 percent to 4,539.02.