Nasdaq Glitch Casts Shadow On Decimal Trading : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Nasdaq Glitch Casts Shadow On Decimal Trading

(02/09/01, 10:14 a.m. ET) By Tony Kontzer, InformationWeek The stock-price gaffe that struck bulletin-board listings Monday should provide additional fodder for skeptics of decimal trading, a practice that began late last month on the New York Stock Exchange and is scheduled to be introduced on the Nasdaq in April.

InformationWeek previously reported that the situation arose because of technological difficulties at data vendor Standard & Poor's ComStock, but as it turns out, ComStock was just one of many vendors that temporarily delivered inaccurate listings to numerous financial websites.

ComStock vice president David Brukman said the problems stemmed from a software glitch created by changes at the Nasdaq in preparation for the switch to decimal trading.

The exchange, he said, altered the way it delivered stock quotes to ComStock, Reuters Quotron, Bridge ADP, and an undisclosed number of other data vendors, and ComStock's software misinterpreted the new data format.

As a result, ComStock listed thousands of bulletin board stocks—most of which were trading for less than $1—at up to 1,000 times their actual value.

Nasdaq officials did not return phone calls requesting comment.

One affected ComStock client was Ameritrade Inc., which temporarily suspended online trading of bulletin-board stocks included in ComStock's quotes. As of Thursday, Ameritrade officials still were not providing details on how much in fees were lost from impeded transactions. Also affected was the financial site Excite Money & Investing by Quicken, which at one point listed the stock price for biotech firm Demegen (stock: DBOT) at $840, or 1,000 times the actual price of 84 cents.

Gartner analyst Avivah Litan said the glitch may cause decimal opponents to turn up the volume of their protests. "There's never a totally debugged system," Litan said. "But the skeptics can certainly use it to their advantage

-- Martin Thompson (, February 09, 2001

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