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Traders See Price Errors at Close in Apple, Google, Others

Nick Baker, Elena Popina and Rachel Evans

(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc., Google-parent Alphabet Inc. and other major stocks had a bizarre last few minutes of trading Tuesday, as data glitches hampered U.S. markets for a second day.

The drama came at the close, following a day in which Apple had calmly traded above $208 for hours, poised for a more than 4% gain. When 4 p.m. arrived, the shares sank in an instant to $200.48, exactly where it had finished the day Monday. Minutes later the closing price was corrected to $208.97.

Many others followed a similar script. According to Nasdaq Inc., one of the major U.S. exchange operators, 80 stocks were affected, 13 of them Nasdaq-listed companies. They include Alphabet, International Business Machines Corp. and Bank of America Corp.

The problem, according to Ed Coughlin, Nasdaq’s director of trading services, was that a broker-dealer incorrectly reported trades to an industry price feed -- something called the Finra TRF -- at stale numbers: Monday’s close. Nasdaq notified the trading firm that it made a mistake, and the broker subsequently canceled the transactions with the bad prices and resubmitted them at the correct levels, Coughlin said. He declined to identify the broker.

“The incorrect trade reports happened after the market had closed and had no impact on continuous market trading,” he said in an interview.

The issue occurred a day after errors in a feed run by the New York Stock Exchange delayed the calculation of closing levels for the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average. It was also just a few hours after a separate problem at S&P Dow Jones Indices prevented the S&P 500 and Dow from updating for roughly 15 minutes earlier in the day.

“Our index management team has already resolved the issue and is currently assessing any necessary remediation to avoid further interruptions,” said April Kabahar, head of communications at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Though rare, problems with price feeds have occasionally dogged U.S. equity infrastructure in its electronic age. In August 2013, a computer error froze thousands of securities listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market for three hours in an interruption later attributed to a malfunctioning price feeds. The New York Stock Exchange halted trading for 3 1/2 hours because of a computer malfunction in July 2015.

“I don’t think it’s unprecedented,” Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance, said of Tuesday’s problem. “Once they corrected it, all these irregularities went away.”

(Updates with a Nasdaq official’s comments)

To contact the reporters on this story: Nick Baker in Chicago at nbaker7@bloomberg.net;Elena Popina in New York at epopina@bloomberg.net;Rachel Evans in New York at revans43@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeremy Herron at jherron8@bloomberg.net, Chris Nagi

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