Slatest PM: Computer Glitch Brings Down Nasdaq

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 22 2013 4:32 PM

Slatest PM: The Computer Glitch That Brought Down the Nasdaq

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A reporter (TOP) broadcasts from the NASDAQ MarketSite in Times Square as passerby (BOTTOM) are reflected in the window after trading was halted on all Nasdaq-listed stocks on August 22, 2013 in New York City

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Nasdaq Goes Down: Bloomberg: "Computer breakdowns shook American equity trading for the second time this week, freezing thousands of stocks listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market for three hours and raising fresh concerns about the fragility of exchanges. The second-biggest American exchange operator, home to 3,200 companies from 37 countries, halted transactions in all of its securities shortly after noon, a decision that caused buying and selling to stop on its platform and dozens of others where the securities trade. Errors in the feed used to disseminate quotes and prices were to blame, Nasdaq said on its website."

The Biggest Loser: Associated Press: "The Nasdaq shutdown appeared to occur in an orderly fashion and didn't upset other parts of the stock market. One stock that did take a hit was the parent company of the exchange, Nasdaq OMX. That stock fell $1.07, or 3.4 percent, to $30.48 in heavy trading even as the broader market rose."

Not the First Time: Wall Street Journal: "Thursday's problem is the latest in a string of technology-related mishaps affecting exchanges and brokers as markets over the past two decades have migrated to electronic systems. System problems marred Nasdaq OMX's rollout of the Facebook Inc. initial public offering last year, costing Wall Street firms approximately $500 million in trading losses. Earlier this week, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. flooded U.S. stock-options markets with erroneous orders, most of which were later canceled."

Instant Anaysis: Moneybox: "And yet the great engine of capitalism powers forward without them, just as a non-scheduled halt in trading has very little impact on the gears of industry in the real world. Now obviously if you didn't have stock markets at all, that would be a big change. But the fact that one can go away for hours unexpectedly without it being much of a disruption to anything anyone is doing is a reminder of the fairly marginal role of stock trading in actual economic activity, even as more and more of corporate governance has somewhat perversely been oriented toward trying to make share prices high."

Happy Thursday! Welcome to the Slatest PM, where if we squint we can see the weekend from here. (It looks glorious!) Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at@JoshVoorhees and the whole team at @Slatest.

Bales Says Sorrys: Associated Press: "The U.S. soldier who massacred 16 Afghan civilians apologized Thursday for his 'act of cowardice' as he made his case for why he should someday have a chance at freedom. Staff Sgt. Robert Bales did not recount specifics of the horrors, but described the March 11, 2012 slaughter of villagers, mostly women and children, as an 'act of cowardice, behind a mask of fear, bullshit and bravado.' ... Bales, 39, pleaded guilty in June in a deal to avoid the death penalty. A military jury will determine if his life sentence should offer a chance of parole. Bales said he was mad at himself for being angry all the time, drinking too much and hiding his problems."

Slate's Chelsea Manning Coverage:

Waiting on Obama: Reuters: "President Barack Obama on Thursday faced growing calls at home and abroad for forceful action against the Syrian government over accusations that it carried out a massive deadly chemical weapons attack. While the White House said it was 'appalled' by reports of hundreds of people gassed near Damascus on Wednesday, it made clear that any U.S. response must await confirmation of the attack and again demanded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad give U.N. inspectors immediate access to the sites of the alleged attacks. ... The consensus in Washington and allied capitals is that a concerted international response can only succeed if the United States takes the lead. But Obama has shown no appetite for intervention, mindful of opinion polls showing most Americans opposed to a new military entanglements in the Muslim world."

Fort Hood Jury Begins Deliberations: NBC News: "Military jurors on Thursday started deliberating in the case of the soldier accused of killing 13 people during the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood. Maj. Nidal Hasan, who faces numerous counts of premeditated murder and attempted premeditated murder for the 2009 attack on the Texas military base, skipped his final chance to address jurors earlier Thursday, even after prosecutors insisted he carried out a planned attack and asked jurors for a verdict that would allow the death penalty. Maj. Nidal Hasan is acting as his own attorney but declined to plead his case after prosecutors wrapped up their closing argument. When the judge told Hasan he could begin, he said: 'The defense chooses not to make a closing statement.'"

Coburn Wants a Constitutional Convetion: Tulsa World: "U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn urged Oklahomans on Wednesday to join the movement for a national constitutional convention to cut down an oversized federal government and counter what he repeatedly referred to as a 'lawless' Obama administration. 'I used to have a great fear of constitutional conventions,' Coburn told about 300 people at the Muskogee Convention Center. 'I have a great fear now of not having one.' A national convention called by two-thirds of the state legislatures is one of two ways the U.S. Constitution can be amended. Such a convention has never been called, largely because the Constitution itself was the product of a convention authorized only to amend the existing Articles of Confederation, but which replaced it entirely. Thus, political leaders and scholars have long held that such a convention could be dangerous and even destructive to the nation."

Ex-Pat Indicted: Boston Globe: "Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez was indicted today on a charge of first-degree murder in the slaying of a Boston man whose bullet-riddled body was found in a North Attleborough industrial park in June. Hernandez also faces five gun charges in the slaying of Odin L. Lloyd, 27, of Boston, in the latest chapter of the downfall of a wealthy NFL star who once seemed to have a bright future. ... If convicted of first-degree murder, Hernandez faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole."

Goldman Banker Accused of Hamptons Rape: New York Times: "A Goldman Sachs banker has been charged with raping a young woman in an East Hampton rental home, the authorities announced on Thursday. The banker, Jason Lee, 37, was arraigned on rape charges in court in East Hampton on Wednesday and posted $20,000 bail, according to a court official and a statement issued by the East Hampton Town Police Department. ... Mr. Lee is a managing director in Goldman Sachs’s equity capital markets group, which handles initial public offerings, is on leave following his arrest, an official at the bank said."

A Few More Quick Hits From Slate

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Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. Follow him on Twitter.