NEW YORK • The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) was forced to suspend trading for several hours on Wednesday in the largest disruption to hit a United States financial market in nearly two years, unnerving investors already rattled by the meltdown in Chinese stocks and the Greek debt crisis.
NYSE, a unit of Intercontinental Exchange, halted trading shortly after 11.30am and reopened at 3.10pm. It said the disruption was due to an internal technical issue and not the result of a cyber attack.
Other exchanges were trading normally. "It's not a good day, and I don't feel good for our customers who are having to deal with the fallout," NYSE president Thomas Farley told CNBC during the halt.
NYSE handled 6.12 per cent of US stock volume for the day, with much of that coming after the exchange reopened, according to statistics from Bats Global Markets. That compares with an average of about 13.4 per cent last month.
Traders awaited the reopening anxiously because much of NYSE business happens when portfolio managers put in orders designed to occur at the exact market close to ensure end-of-day pricing.
However, many traders said it did not matter that NYSE was down. That is because there are 11 US stock exchanges, including those run by Nasdaq OMX Group and Bats, along with more than 40 private stock-trading venues, so the trading of NYSE-listed stocks was uninterrupted.
NYSE had been facing technical issues even before the market opened. The exchange had said it was experiencing connectivity problems that might have prevented some of its customers from getting acknowledgements on orders submitted for some 220 stocks.
A technical problem at its Arca exchange in March caused some of the most popular exchange-traded funds to be temporarily unavailable for trading.
And in August 2013, trading of all Nasdaq-listed stocks was frozen for three hours, leading Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Mary Jo White to call for a meeting of Wall Street executives to insure "continuous and orderly" functioning of the markets.