• 10 Jun 2024

 

Opening Insights


A routine software update has gone completely wrong, causing trading to halt on nearly 40
stocks and displaying peculiar price drops of up to 99% on Monday, June 3rd, 2024. Among
the affected companies is none other than Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc., sending
shockwaves through the financial world. In this article, we dig into the chaos that emerged
when the NYSE experienced a major glitch, disrupting the normal functioning of one of the
world's largest stock exchanges. From erroneous trades to forced pauses, we uncover the
technical intricacies behind the incident and its implications on market stability.

 

Technical Turbulence - The Root Cause


The glitch on the NYSE was caused by a software update implemented by the Consolidated
Tape Association (CTA), an organization that is responsible for publishing real-time trade and
quote data, and its systems are utilized by major exchanges, including the NYSE, to jointly
provide stock market information. This update jumbled up the price bands that show opening
prices on the Securities Information Processor (SIP), a central data feed that consolidates and
disseminates real-time trade and quote data from all US exchanges.
The Aftermath Market Ripples

 

This unanticipated turmoil led to trading halts for almost two hours due to a rigorous price
drop of about 99% in nearly 40 stocks including Berkshire Hathaway. The malfunction
caused wildly inaccurate price displays, such as Berkshire Hathaway's Class A shares were
mistakenly priced at just $185.10, a dramatic fall from their $626,000 closing price on the
previous Friday. The glitch also affected stocks like Chipotle, GameStop, AMC, Barrick
Gold, the Bank of Montreal, and NuScale Power, seeing their share prices momentarily drop
by nearly 100%.
 

The Rapid Rectification


NYSE swiftly came up with a suspension of trades on the respective stocks to address the
issue, announcing that any trades made during the erroneous pricing would be reviewed, a
common practice in such scenarios. Upon detecting the glitch, Consolidated Tape Association
(CTA) reverted to a backup data center running an older software version. This quick action ensured that trading resumed smoothly, with the NYSE announcing the cancellation of
erroneous trades. Once the trading was resumed, Berkshire Hathaway's shares closed the day
at $631,110, reflecting a 0.6 percent increase. Notably, only the Class A shares were
impacted, while the Class B shares traded normally. A spokesperson for the NYSE explained
that the disruption was caused by a technical issue with the Securities Information Processor
(SIP).

Echoes of Past Disruptions


The incident bears resemblance to past market disruptions, including a confusing episode in
January 2023. NYSE also faced a similar scenario in the preceding week to this June’s glitch.
It highlights challenges in trading infrastructure as it adapts to new settlement timelines and
increased electronic trading. The event underscored the importance of robust trading
infrastructure and the need for continuous monitoring and upgrades. It also has reignited
discussions about market stability and the role of regulatory bodies in safeguarding against
similar incidents in the future.

 

Final Takeaways


As the Monday Morning chaos on the NYSE settles down, it leaves behind a remarkable
reminder of the fragility of financial markets in the digital age. As trading technology
evolves, stakeholders must remain vigilant and proactive in addressing vulnerabilities to
ensure the integrity and stability of global financial systems.

 

 

 


- NGCB Team

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