NYSE shutdown: Advisers calm jittery clients

One snarky adviser tweets "Has your robo-advisor called you yet to discuss?"

Jul 8, 2015 @ 2:47 pm

By Liz Skinner and Alessandra Malito

Financial advisers calmed anxious clients Wednesday after the New York Stock Exchange halted all trades shortly before noon, citing a technical malfunction.

Some advisers let clients know that stocks continued to be traded on other exchanges such as the Nasdaq Stock Market.

“We have been touching base with people, letting clients know that we know there are incidents going on on Wall Street,” said Jon Ulin, a certified financial planner at Ulin & Co. Wealth Management.

He also tweeted: “NYSE trading halted. Has your robo-advisor called you yet to discuss?”

The stoppage, which began at 11:32 a.m. and ended at 3:10 p.m. New York time, marked the greatest disruption to a U.S. stock trading venue in nearly two years, since the Nasdaq halted trading for three hours because of a broken price feed.

News of the NYSE halt, combined with reports of technology issues grounding United Airlines flights earlier in the day and website troubles at the Wall Street Journal had some worried that a virulent cyber hacking incident was taking place.

But the operator of the NYSE tweeted that the stoppage was not a result of any type of “cyber breach,” and an anonymous Department of Homeland Security official confirmed that to Bloomberg News.

In an e-mail statement, Securities and Exchange Commission chairwoman Mary Jo White said the agency was “closely monitoring the situation.” She also noted that NYSE stocks were trading normally on other venues.

Katrina Cavalli, a spokesman for the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, the major financial industry trade group, was also monitoring the situation.

Many advisers downplayed the event.

“As we become more technologically driven, I expect we will see more things like this in the future," wrote Jon Yankee, partner and chief executive of FJY Financial in an e-mail.

Prices on equity markets dropped during the afternoon as the NYSE stoppage continued. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off more than 200 points by mid-afternoon, or about 1.25%.

“I think it is more negatives on top of an anxious market with China and Greece, making investors on edge,” said Carter Mansbach, president at Jupiter Wealth Strategies.

He also said in a tweet: “It's days like this that NYSE goes down and EVERYTHING is communicated through twitter.”

While causing some concern, the event highlighted the resilience of a system on which no single exchange handles more than 16% of trades. Both Nasdaq and BATS Global Markets said their venues operated normally during the NYSE halt.

The NYSE is one of 11 exchanges and more than 50 private venues where American stocks change hands. While the NYSE effected transactions on the company's main market and impacted indexes derived from prices generated by that venue, investors could still buy and sell stock elsewhere.

This story was supplemented with reporting by Bloomberg.

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