By Rodrigo Campos
Oct 29 Nasdaq OMX Group said human
error left the U.S. exchange unable to transmit index values for
nearly 45 minutes on Tuesday, leading to a temporary halt in
options trading on some stock indexes.
Index values for the Nasdaq Composite, Nasdaq 100
, PHLX Semiconductor, PHLX Oil Service Sector
and PHLX Housing Sector were unavailable to the
public for almost 45 minutes.
The lack of data forced the Nasdaq to halt options trading
in those indexes on Nasdaq's PHLX and Nasdaq Options Market
exchanges. Trading in those options was halted around 12:15 p.m.
and restored about 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT).
The Nasdaq 100, one of the indexes that was briefly
unavailable, is the benchmark for the PowerShares QQQ Trust
exchange-traded fund, one of the most heavily traded
ETFs in the U.S. market.
"The disruption was caused by a human error performing an
operational function which resulted in the incorrect delivery of
data ...," Nasdaq said.
The error "limited the ability of the system to distribute
index data," the exchange said.
The exchange said its Global Index Data Service "experienced
a brief disruption of service" that did not affect equity
exchange operations. Nasdaq was still able to calculate index
values, just unable to distribute them.
The exchange has struggled to repair its reputation
following some high-profile interruptions, most notably a total
exchange shutdown for three hours on Aug. 22 and last year's
botched initial public offering of Facebook Inc.
"I don't know what it is, but it appears they have an
unusual proportion of technical problems there," said Stephen
Massocca, managing director at Wedbush Equity Management LLC in
"You would think they would be on their tippy-toes making
sure everything was absolutely correct over there ... at this
point, it's more than just luck."
The Securities and Exchange Commission said it was
monitoring the situation.
"We have been in contact with market participants as is our
standard practice and monitoring developments as appropriate,"
said SEC spokesman John Nester.
According to options analytics firm Trade Alert, in NDX,
4,932 calls and 14,000 puts traded through 3:04 p.m. with less
than one hour left of trading, below the recent combined daily
average of 42,000 contracts.