Friday, August 23 15:37:55
U.S. stocks were little changed today, a day after the Nasdaq stock exchange suffered a historic trading halt of roughly three hours as a result of technical problems.
Trading in thousands of U.S. stocks ground to a halt for much of Thursday after an unexplained technological problem shut down trading in Nasdaq securities, the latest prominent disruption to the operations of U.S. markets.
Chief Executive Officer Robert Greifeld said on CNBC television the Nasdaq resolved the technical issues that led to Thursday's trading halt, but cannot guarantee there would be no future problems.
Microsoft Corp was the biggest boost to the three major indexes, up 7.3 percent to $34.74 after the company said Chief Executive Steve Ballmer will retire within the next 12 months, once it completes the process of choosing his successor.
Even with the Nasdaq outage on Thursday, the S and P 500 managed to register its biggest percentage gain since Aug. 1, but was unable to close above its 50-day moving average for a fifth straight session. The mark, now at 1,659.26, has become a technical hurdle.
The benchmark index is on pace for a third straight weekly decline, as investors exercise caution amid uncertainty over how soon the Fed will begin to wind down its $85 billion a month stimulus program.
"This has been a very unique market situation with the Fed stimulus being such an important component to the market rally. This is uncharted waters for us," said Gordon Charlop, managing director at Rosenblatt Securities in New York.
"So regardless of what the move is, the fact you are someplace you haven't been before is cause for uncertainty."
The next Fed monetary policy meeting is scheduled for Sept. 17-18.
Economic data showed sales of new single-family homes in America fell by 13.4 percent in July to an annual rate of 394,000 units, well below expectations of 490,000 units. (Reuters)