Trading on the New York Stock Exchange in late-morning trade on Wednesday with U.S. stocks extending their losses as continued concerns about Greece and the extended selloff in the Chinese market pressured investor sentiment.
“We’ve had some technical malfunctions. Some may be related to connectivity with other exchanges. I believe we’re going to have a temporary pause certainly in a variety of stocks perhaps floor wide,” Art Cashin, director of floor operations at the NYSE, told CNBC, adding that the halt will not cause a move in a particular direction.
Other exchanges, however, continued trading normally. The NYSE later said that all open orders amid the halt will be cancelled.
“What happens with these situations is often you get a sort of residual result. You’re all clear or you get caught up to date and there’s a little bit of a backlog that pops up somewhere, and it tends to jam things up. So I don’t think any of us has quite enough information yet,” Cashin added.
The Dow Jones industrial average traded about 175 points lower when trading was halted as the major averages declined, with the Nasdaq Composite briefly off more than 1 percent as biotechs and Apple (AAPL) plunged more than 1 percent. The iPhone maker was also the worst performing stock in the Dow.
The S&P 500 struggled to hold gains for the year. The index dipped into negative territory Tuesday but recovered in afternoon trade to hold slightly higher for 2015.
“I think we’re just realigning the U.S. market with the declines elsewhere,” said Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group.
In China, the Shanghai Composite closed nearly 6 percent lower despite supportive government measures. The index has fallen more than 30 percent from its mid-June peak amid frequent bouts of extreme volatility. Analysts say the turbulence is starting to unnerve regional investors.
“There was no real trigger until Chinese stocks became too pricey,” said Nick Raich, CEO of The Earnings Scout. “The trigger that sent this all off has been the Greece debt crisis.”
European stocks traded higher on Thursday amid hopes of a Greece deal. However, the indices are more than 2 percent lower for the week so far.
The Greek government has until Friday morning to present detailed reform proposals to allow a bailout deal by a Sunday summit.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras addressed the European Parliament on Wednesday, lambasting Europe’s advocacy of austerity and the efficacy of Greece’s bailout programs since 2010, but promised a detailed, “concrete” deal would be presented in the next two to three days.
“Unfortunately the U.S. will remain headline-driven until earnings season which (starts) with Alcoa tonight,” Boockvar said. “Today will clearly be bullied around by headlines out of Greece.”
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes at 2 p.m. ET will also be in focus, with traders scanning the Federal Reserve’s June meeting report for hints on interest rate rise timing.
“I think the Fed minutes are something to watch closely,” said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab. But “usually the market doesn’t do much around the minutes until they’re released.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) traded down 194 points, or 0.99 percent, at 17,583, with Intel leading decliners and Microsoft (MSFT) the only advancer.
The S&P 500 (.SPX) traded down 23 points, or 1.14 percent, at 2,057, with telecommunications leading all 10 sectors lower.
The Nasdaq (.IXIC) traded down 64 points, or 1.31 percent, at 4,931.
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) (.VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded near 18.
About five stocks declined for every advancer on the New York Stock Exchange, with an exchange volume of 194 million and a composite volume of 1.22 billion as of 11:30 a.m.
Crude oil futures for August delivery lost 81 cents to $51.52 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold futures rose $7.50 to $1,160.20 an ounce in morning trade.
Bond yields held lower, with the 10-year yield at 2.23 percent and the 2-year at 0.57 percent. The Treasury auctions $21 billion in 10-year notes this afternoon.
The U.S. dollar fell about half a percent against major world currencies as the euro gained to above $1.10.
Earnings season unofficially begins with aluminium producer Alcoa (AA) reporting after the market close.
Written by Evelyn Cheng of CNBC