The US stock market saw its biggest disruption in two years on Wednesday when trading on the New York Stock Exchange was halted for over 3 hours due to a technical issue. Stocks had opened in the red but drifted to the lows of the day during the halt.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 17,521.03, -255.88, (-1.44%)
- S&P 500: 2,046.97, -34.37, (-1.65%)
- Nasdaq: 4,907.95, -89.51, (-1.79%)
And now, the top stories on Wednesday:
- Trading stopped on the New York Stock Exchange for nearly three hours, starting at 11:32 a.m. ET. The NYSE said this error was due to an internal technical issue, and not a cyber breach. To avoid more widespread problems, it shut down trading. NYSE-listed stocks continued to change hands on other venues during the halt. According to Eric Hunsader, CEO of market research firm Nanex, trades from the NYSE dropped before the halt, sputtered, and then eventually stopped. The SEC, Treasury, and the White House are all looking into what went wrong.
- The FOMC released minutes of its June meeting, which showed that it is set to raise rates this year, but Greece is a concern. The meeting was held before things started getting chaotic in Greece. Here’s the key portion of the minutes: “[M]any participants expressed concern that a failure of Greece and its official creditors to resolve their differences could result in disruptions in financial markets in the euro area, with possible spillover effects on the United States.” After this meeting, the Fed kept rates unchanged, as expected.
- Greece has applied for a three-year loan to prevent bankruptcy. According to Reuters, Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras asked for a fair deal in a speech to the European Parliament. Capital controls have been extended, and banks are expected to remain closed through the week.
- US crude oil inventories rose for a second straight week. The latest data from the Energy Information Administration showed that commercial crude inventories rose by 384,000 barrels in the week ending July 3. This brought the total number of barrels in storage to 466 million, still at the highest level for this time of year in about 80 years. After the release, West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell more than 2% to as low as $US50.95 per barrel.
- Iron ore had its biggest daily drop ever. The spot price for 62% fines fell more than 10% on concerns of oversupply and slowing Chinese demand.
- Consumer credit rose by $US16.1 billion in May, down from $US21.4 billion in April and below the $US18.5 billion that was expected.
- Tesla shares got their third analyst downgrade in a few days. In a note released Wednesday, Pacific Crest’s Brad Erickson downgraded his rating on the stock to “Sector Weight” from “Overweight,” and pegged its fair value at $US293. He echoed a point made by Deutsche Bank and Bank of America Merril Lynch analysts within the past week — Tesla’s future success is already factored into its stock price.
- Second quarter earnings season unofficially kicks off after the market close, with aluminium giant Alcoa reporting. Expectations are for adjusted earnings per share of $US0.22 on revenues of $US5.81 billion, according to Bloomberg. Analysts are not expecting S&P 500 earnings growth until Q4 2015, and no revenue growth until Q1 2016.