Tech stocks are so high now, they’re breaking the NYSE

Something was not quite right.
Something was not quite right.
Image: Reuters/Brendan McDermid
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Amazon’s share price closed at $1,460 today (April 25). Alphabet closed at $1,023. And shares in Booking Holdings reached $2,078 a pop.

The New York Stock Exchange suspended trading on the floor for five Nasdaq-listed securities because of a “price scale code issue,” according to its website. The exchange flagged the issue early in the day, saying that any open orders in the securities would be closed, and posted this message to its status page at 11:16am US eastern time:

NYSE customers using Binary CCG order entry ports are advised that execution reports priced at or above $1000 in some Tapes B and C securities (including AMZN, BKNG, GOOG, GOOGL) are being published with a ‘price scale’ code of 5.  NYSE expects this behavior to continue for trading today and will provide a further update before the start of trading tomorrow.

All other systems, including the price scale code for Tapes B and C market data, are operating normally.

Translation? The NYSE’s electronic platform was temporarily generating incorrect execution reports for trades involving Nasdaq-listed securities with share prices of four digits, or $1,000 or more a share. The five securities, which included Amazon and Alphabet, have traded above $1,000 a share for a while now, but the shares are new to trading on the NYSE.

Most investors of the suspended stocks were unaffected, though, as the shares continued to trade normally on other US exchanges.

“We were able to execute trades in these symbols. As per the notice to the market, it was an issue that affected the execution reports customers receive post-trade—and it only affected less than a handful of our customers,” said Kristen Kaus, a NYSE communications manager, in an email to Quartz. “We elected to suspend trading in those affected symbols to minimize disruption to this small subset of clients who were experiencing this reporting issue.”

For decades, trading on the NYSE was limited to stocks listed on the exchange. But on April 9, the NYSE introduced trading in US stocks and exchange-traded funds listed on other exchanges, like the Nasdaq. Now, the NYSE is rebuilding its technology (paywall) to accommodate the change.

At 4:40pm, the NYSE confirmed that all securities will be active for trading tomorrow (April 26).