The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) slowed and then suspended trading altogether today for reasons that were described as “technical issues” and not the result of a cyberattack.
The problem appears to have begun earlier in the morning before the exchange was suspended at 11.32am (4.32pm BST).
“We’re currently experiencing a technical issue that we’re working to resolve as quickly as possible,” NYSE spokesperson Marissa Arnold told Bloomberg.
“We will be providing further updates as soon as we can, and are doing our utmost to produce a swift resolution, communicate thoroughly and transparently, and ensure a timely and orderly market re-open.”
By coincidence or not, the Wall Street Journal also went offline at roughly the same time and there have been reports of broadband disruption. United Airlines suspended all flights for two hours earlier today although this was later blamed on a router problem.
The NYSE is a premier securities exchange but only one of a number of places trading takes place - the tech-heavy NASDAQ was unaffected and NYSE stocks were still being priced through other exchanges.
For it to crash for so long is almost unprecedented, however, despite occasional hiccups in the past. In 2011, anti-establishment hacking group Anonymous threatened to disrupt the NYSE using a DDoS attack though without much success.
Despite inevitable suggestions of a cyberattack on social media, the most likely cause remains a technical issue with trading or an equipment fault.
The Exchange eventually tweeted the following to confirm that:
"The issue we are experiencing is an internal technical issue and is not the result of a cyber breach," it said. "We chose to suspend trading on NYSE to avoid problems arising from our technical issue."