‘Tape’ glitch means it’s not clear where the Dow and S&P closed Monday

'Tape' glitch means it's not clear where the Dow and S&P closed Monday

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

A trade organization that oversees the dissemination of trades at the NYSE said Monday’s trade reporting glitch was due to a “network component failure” at the the exchange’s data center in Mahwah, New Jersey.

The Consolidated Tape Association said the system had been replaced and that all systems were operating normally Tuesday.

Still, the trade reporting glitch caused considerable confusion in the last hour of Monday’s session, and cast doubt on whether the prices disseminated for major indexes like the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were accurate.

What happened? There is a “river” of trades that is reported each day from the exchanges. One “stream” comes from the stocks that are listed on the NYSE (called “Tape A”) another from stocks listed on NYSE American and regional stock exchanges (called “Tape B”) and a third from stocks listed on the Nasdaq (“Tape C”). These “streams” all are mixed into one “river” of quotes that are listed on a single tape, called the Securities Information Processor.

In the last hour of Monday’s session, there was an issue of reporting to the tape some trades that had already been made. This was not resolved until after 8 p.m. ET.

Since the prices for indexes like the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average are calculated off the tape, and since not all the final prices necessarily made it onto the tape by the 4 p.m. ET close, it wasn’t clear if the prices reported for the indexes at the close were correct.

The S&P price shortly after the close was 2,882.69. Tuesday morning, it was posted at 2,883.09, implying a small recalculation.

It’s not clear if this will be the final calculation. “We are continuing to review the numbers and calculations,” said Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

What happened? CTA said the “network component” that failed was replaced, implying that this was likely a hardware problem.

CTA said there was no reason to believe that any systems operated by the exchanges contributed to the outage. NYSE is heavily involved in upgrading its software system to a new trading platform called Pillar, and this statement seemed to preclude that this was an issue in the outage.

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