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The 7 Times NASDAQ Glitches Paralyzed The Markets

In addition to today’s glitch, which caused a three-hour halt to trading, the exchange has had some other major technical difficulties.

1. August 22, 2013: The Three-Hour Meltdown

Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Today the NASDAQ experienced a glitch that shut the exchange down completely for more than three hours.

Just before noon the exchange began experiencing “momentary interruptions” distributing stock quotes, which then spiraled into a three-hour halt on trading for the thousands of companies listed on the NASDAQ, including Microsoft, Apple, and Google.

2. October 2012: Kraft Bug

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

After recently switching to the NASDAQ, Kraft Foods stock was hit by a glitch that caused the share price to skyrocket 30% in one minute and resulted in the cancellations of orders as a result.

NASDAQ blamed the error on a broker, but the snafu came on the heels of the exchange’s massively public botched IPO of Facebook, and a day after the Securities and Exchange Commission had a roundtable on fixing computer errors on the exchanges, conjuring fears of technological failings in many market watchers.

3. August 2012: Peet’s Coffee Skyrockets

David McNew / Getty Images

Another glitch that sent share prices soaring occurred in the summer of 2012, this time with Peet’s Coffee & Tea stock, causing more order cancellations.

4. May 18, 2012: The Botched Facebook IPO

Nasdaq via Facebook, Zef Nikolla, File / AP

This one was a doozy. After weeks of anticipation, the much-hyped Facebook IPO fell completely flat when a technical error that NASDAQ subsequently ignored caused massive confusion on the trading floor.

As a result, NASDAQ was fined $10 million by the SEC and agreed to pay $62 million to brokers who lost money in the debacle.

5. January 2011: The Big Freeze

Tom Szczerbowski / Getty Images

Trading on the NASDAQ froze one winter morning in 2011, when a glitch in the system failed to get index updates out to various outlets.

6. August 1994: Squirrel Number Two

Sam Greenwood / Getty Images

The summer of 1994 included a major glitch for NASDAQ when another squirrel shut down trading for 34 minutes after chewing through a power line connected to the trading floor.

The exchange’s backup system in Connecticut was no match for the animal, and didn’t kick in for more than a half hour.

7. December 1987: Squirrel Number One

Lisi Niesner / Reuters

The first squirrel appearance on NASDAQ’s radar was in December of 1987, when one chewed through a power cord linked to the exchange, causing an outage for 82 minutes.

At the time, a NASDAQ official estimated that the squirrel prevented more than 20 million shares from being traded.

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Mariah Summers is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Summers reports on hospitality, travel and real estate.
Contact Mariah Summers at mariah.summers@buzzfeed.com
 
 
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