Wall Street glitch

North Amer­i­can mar­kets tum­ble as Chi­nese mar­ket sell-off takes hold

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - BUSINESS - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

North Amer­i­can stock mar­kets closed sharply lower Wed­nes­day fol­low­ing a big sell­off in China and con­tin­u­ing un­cer­tainty over Greece's debt woes.

The de­cline came as an un­spec­i­fied tech­ni­cal glitch halted trad­ing on the New York Stock Ex­change for more than half the ses­sion.

Trad­ing of NYSE se­cu­ri­ties on other plat­forms - in­clud­ing the Nas­daq - were un­af­fected by the halt. Other North Amer­i­can mar­kets also con­tin­ued to trade.

Toronto's S&P/TSX com­pos­ite in­dex plunged 212.43 points to end at 14,412.07, with all sec­tors lower, while the Cana­dian dol­lar was down 0.18 of a U.S. cent at 78.49 cents US. In New York, the Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age fell even more, down 261.49 points at 17,515.42, while the Nas­daq plum­meted 87.70 points to 4,909.76 and the S&P 500 fell 34.66 points to 2,046.68.

On Wed­nes­day morn­ing, the NYSE sent an alert to users about a “crit­i­cal is­sue” with its ser­vices and halted trad­ing at 11:32 a.m. ET. Trad­ing re­sumed at about 3:15 p.m. ET.

The stock ex­change, which is the world's largest by mar­ket cap­i­tal­iza­tion, didn't ex­plain what caused the out­age but said it was in­ter­nal and not due to a breach of its sys­tems.

De­spite the short-term at­ten­tion fo­cused on tech­ni­cal prob­lems, more im­por­tant global is­sues were still the heav­i­est weight on the mar­kets, said Ian Nakamoto, di­rec­tor of re­search at MacDougall MacDougall & Mac­Tier Inc.

“The main event is what's go­ing on in China and Greece - this (out­age) is an ir­ri­tant,” Nakamoto said. “It adds to a sour mood.” The pull­back on North Amer­i­can ex­changes fol­lowed another big drop on Chi­nese mar­kets, which have been on a month-long skid that has wiped out tril­lions of dol­lars in mar­ket value.

On Wed­nes­day, the Shang­hai com­pos­ite sank six per cent de­spite new at­tempts by China's gov­ern­ment to stop the selling, among other things or­der­ing state-owned com­pa­nies to buy shares and promis­ing more credit to fi­nance trad­ing. The Shang­hai in­dex has lost a third of its value in the last month, but is still up 70 per cent over the past year.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng, a ca­su­alty of the tur­moil in main­land Chi­nese mar­kets, also lost six per cent.

In Europe, Greece rushed to put to­gether a de­tailed eco­nomic re­form plan by Thurs­day, a dead­line set by its Euro­pean cred­i­tors.

The cred­i­tor coun­tries say they want time to re­view the plan be­fore lead­ers of the Euro­pean Union's 28 coun­tries meet on Sun­day in what some say is Greece's last chance to stay in the euro.


Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Ex­change in New York Wed­nes­day.

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