New York Report: Shares close higher despite Nasdaq outage

US STOCKS closed higher yesterday in a trading session marred by a historic trading halt of roughly three hours on the Nasdaq stock exchange as a result of technical problems.

All traffic through Nasdaq OMX Group, the second-largest US stock exchange stopped at 12:14pm Eastern Time, the exchange said on its website. Shares in Nasdaq closed down 3.4 per cent to $30.46.

The exchange resumed trading with a single stock, Atlantic American, at 3:00pm before trading resumed in all of its listed securities at 3:25pm. The lightly traded stock advanced 0.6 per cent to $3.82.

The outage was the latest in series of high-profile incidents on exchanges.

“We have automated securities markets to the point where you are reliant on computers. This is going to be a recurring thing,” said Stephen Massocca, managing director, Wedbush Equity Management LLC in San Francisco.

“It is difficult to have automated systems that don’t have issues on occasion.”

The outage led to what was easily the lowest full-session volume of the year, with about 4.23bn shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, NYSE MKT and Nasdaq, well below the daily average of 6.3bn.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 66.19 points or 0.44 per cent, to 14,963.74, the S&P 500 gained 14.16 points or 0.86 per cent, to 1,656.96 and the Nasdaq Composite added 38.918 points or 1.08 per cent, to 3,638.707.

The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 31.38 points, or 0.87 per cent, at 3,631.17 when the trading halt began, putting the brakes on trading in stocks of such well-known companies as Apple, Microsoft and Amazon.com.