Citing internal system malfunctioning, heads of the NYSE have halted trading until the system has been fixed. While the system glitch may seem innocent and completely unpredictable, the timing couldn't be worse. Why is there such hysteria over the 11:32 a.m. shutdown of America's most relied-upon trading center?
With an extensive history of catastrophic shutdowns, the New York Stock Exchange crashing unexpectedly shouldn't shock investors. Although 223 years has been put into building a network that consistently shapes our global economic framework, the system either can't keep up with itself -- or some IT guy needs fired. The inopportune timing is probably the most worrisome part of this shutdown, especially with Greece's debt crisis pounding the London markets, which pound the Chinese markets and come back to haunt New York -- mixed with oil prices being pummeled.
Even worse, United Continental planes were grounded due to flight plan glitches. The Wall Street Journal's website went down temporarily today, too, which lends itself to one major question: has someone found their way into our electric grids? Experts across all major news mediums remind investors of the NYSE "flash crash" of 2013 credited to a British trading "spoofer". Respondents in a March 2014 CNBC poll -- 7.5 out of every 10 -- feel the NYSE is rigged. All witticisms and their ilk are truly deserved during times like this, which is why many investors may second guess their daily buys once the markets reopen (presumably) Thursday.
Traders are undoubtedly alarmed by NYSE's inability to maintain system stability, realizing that vulnerabilities such as this could wreck their portfolios or thwart some important trade. Personal computers are man-made machines destined for intermittent failure, but we're talking about massive servers and mainframes that could fill up several Wal-Mart Supercenter stores -- a system built through years of research, data science, and with expectations of hiccup-free continuity.
Investors aren't scared when someone accidentally bumps the power switch; they're fearful of cyber attacks on the NYSE, which could seriously dent our financial backbone. An airline, a major newspaper, and America's stock exchange showed signs of technical flaw during the same year a major movie producer and several huge data vaults were hacked. According to the Associated Press, Homeland Security and the President are privy to the NYSE stoppage and aren't ruling out cyber hacking, although nothing nefarious has been discovered.
NYSE-listed shares across other exchanges continued their movement as the #NYSE hashtag took off. With some 60 other exchanges that take orders, NYSE stoppage won't necessarily cause mass panic, but it's just enough to cast fear into the multitudes of investors moving our money. The DJIA, S&P, and NASDAQ indices continued their movement without much change in trading volume, although all were down as of 2:10 p.m. EST.
[Photo by Andrew Burton / Getty Images News]