Trading on the New York Stock Exchange was suspended in an unprecedented halt for over three and half hours on Wednesday as a result of what was described by the NYSE as “internal technical issues”.
Trading came to a stop at around 11:30 ET and resumed 15:10 ET. Commenting on the situation, NYSE president Thomas Farley told CNBC, “I can't say exactly with precision what drove it. We found what was wrong and we fixed what was wrong and we have no evidence whatsoever to suspect that it was external.”
Comments also came from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairwoman, Mary Jo White who said in a statement that the SEC was monitoring the situation with the NYSE, pointing out that other exchanges were functioning properly.
The SEC has faced a number of challenges in trying to address market structure issues including mending glitches that have shaken investor confidence at times.
Several government officials commented on the attack, all denying any link to a cyber-attack.
The gravity with which this halt to trading was viewed is reflected in the fact that White House Press Josh Earnest also issued a statement saying, “there is no indication that there are malicious actors involved.” He added that the White House was monitoring the situation.
The FBI also issued a statement on the trading halt saying it would monitor the situation, but that no law enforcement procedures were called for at that time.
Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Charles Johnson, said the trading glitch had been noted and that an earlier computer problem that had grounded United Airlines flights appeared totally unrelated to the problem on the NYSE.
Richard Repetto, an analyst with Sandler, O'Neill and Partners told CNBC, “This is going to make it more difficult to say the floor traders are important when there’s a technical problem. Because the technical problems take out the floor traders, too”
Reuters reports that the outage on the NYSE had little effect on trading volumes. About 7.1 billion shares were traded on all U.S. platforms, just below the average of 7.2 billion in the past five sessions, according to information provided by BATS.