Amazon.com Inc. and Google parent Alphabet Inc. won’t trade for the rest of the day at the New York Stock Exchange, which is not a scary prospect because they’re listed by Nasdaq Inc. and seem to be trading just fine there and on other markets.
The NYSE blamed a technical malfunction, specifically a “price scale code issue.” Amazon, Alphabet and a third affected company, Booking Holdings Inc., all have stock prices exceeding US$1,000.
NYSE is the most famous of the three U.S. stock markets owned by Intercontinental Exchange Inc., and it only now started offering trading of Nasdaq-listed companies like Amazon, Alphabet and Booking. Nasdaq was formed in the 1970s, when NYSE was still an exclusive club. And a vestige of that era that’s finally going away is the NYSE floor had never handled trading of Nasdaq-listed shares.
But its sister exchange, NYSE Arca, has for years. It did about 6.2 per cent of Amazon’s trading volume over the past 20 days, versus 27 per cent at the Nasdaq Stock Market, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. For Alphabet, it was 3.6 per cent versus 19 per cent, respectively.
The fragmentation of U.S. stock trading across 12 exchanges and dozens of other venues is often criticized for creating a tangled web that’s difficult for traders and brokers to navigate. But it also means when one market has a problem, there’s no shortage of other places to trade shares, which seems to be the case in this instance.
Amazon and Alphabet “are very liquid stocks that are traded on many” markets, said Stephen Carl, head trader at Williams Capital Group. “I would not think that it would be a material impact.”
Nasdaq spokesman Joe Christinat said Nasdaq markets are operating normally.