Electronic Markets Went Off Rails Last Week


Glitches on several electronic exchanges (NYSE Arca, Nasdaq, BATS Trading and Direct Edge) last Friday led to tens of "thousands of canceled trades and stuck some investors with unexplained losses," the Wall Street Journal reports.

After the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced its ban on stock-short selling, the WSJ says that "dozens of stocks and exchange-traded funds changed hands on electronic exchanges at bizarre prices. Some were more than double their closing levels Thursday; some were at unnaturally low prices, such as one penny."

Exchange officials blamed the problems on confusion over the SEC ban, as well as high trading volumes, but they can't pinpoint as of yet the root cause of the problem.

At least 40 stocks and as many as 80 many have been involved. Traders who thought they had won big and others who have been stuck with losses are not happy.


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Robert Charette
Spotsylvania, Va.
Willie D. Jones
New York City