Unbelievable Things That Shut Down the Stock Exchange

Unbelievable Things That Shut Down the Stock Exchange

The stock exchange is a key aspect of finance which offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to raise large amounts of capital and revolutionize the world. Five days a week, stockbrokers and traders buy and sell stocks and bonds. This economic activity seems complex to many and has become even more fascinating with the introduction of cryptocurrency. Although it is said that the market never sleeps, there have been incidents that have surely shut it down. Here are five things that have led to such an outcome.

1. COVID-19 Pandemic 

From March 2020, the world plummeted into a time of uncertainty, turmoil and great distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shut down in March 2020; something that no one anticipated. It temporarily closed and was forced to resort fully to electronic trading. This was the same for other stock markets. After being shut down for a little over two months, the NYSE reopened in May 2020. This unprecedented event saw a drop in economic output and crashed the stock exchange. Who would have ever imagined that a virus could shut down the stock exchange?

2. Solar Storms

On August 16, 1989, a solar flare shut down the Toronto Stock Exchange. Scientists attribute the events to an extraordinary surge of solar activity. Trading was halted for three hours because three disc drives crashed in quick succession on a computer system that was intended to be “fault-tolerant.” This came as a great shock to officials. A few months prior, the sun’s unusual activity was noted. This period was characterized by solar flares, charged particle discharges and magnetic storms on earth which caused many personal computers around Toronto to malfunction.

3. Squirrels

Squirrels seem to be raging a silent waging war on the US stock exchange. The tiny rodents were the culprits in the shutdown of the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations Service (NASDAQ) for eighty-two minutes on December 9, 1987. Officials explained that a squirrel with a sense of adventure started the power outage in Trumbull, Connecticut. It was estimated that the power outage prevented the trading of a little more than twenty million shares. When the power was restored, the power surge rendered Nasdaq mainframe computers inoperable and significantly affected the complex’s electrical infrastructure, leaving backup generators useless.

4. A Loud Noise

In 2018, a North European stock market was brought to its knees when the computers were affected by a loud noise. The fire prevention system made the noise when it was activated. Data centers frequently use devices that release inert gas to displace oxygen and extinguish fires instead of spring water which can damage delicate equipment. The gas leak was loud and the high decibel whistle took down Nasdaq servers at Digiplex data center in Stockholm. This incident halted trading in seven countries which lasted for several hours.

5. Groucho Marx

Groucho Marx was an American comedian, actor, writer, singer and television star from 1905 to 1976. He was one of Hollywood’s big stars. In 1950, he was invited to the New York Stock Exchange to have a tour of the facility. Marx, the superb showman, took over the public announcement system and started singing “Lydia the Tattooed Lady” for the traders who were present. He expressed that they owed him at least one song because he had lost all his money in 1929 when the stock market crashed. He closed the market for fifteen minutes as he had caught the interest of all the traders who gave him their undivided attention.

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