Exchanges Look to Impose Uniform Speed-Bumps

Executives from the nation’s various trading venues convened are holding meetings in Washington today to devise new rules that aim to prevent the dramatic 1,000-point drop in the Dow that shocked the markets last week.
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Executives from the nation’s various trading venues convened are holding meetings in Washington today to devise new rules that aim to prevent the dramatic 1,000-point drop in the Dow that shocked the markets last week.

Early reports from the meeting indicate that exchanges, including NYSE Euronext and Nasdaq, are planning to institute uniform circuit breaker rules that slow trading during volatile market swings. The rules are meant to apply across most major trading systems, but it's unclear how regulators can impose the rules on banks' internal order flow.Regulators have said that last week’s sudden drop in the markets was most likely caused by circuit breakers that were triggered on the NYSE, which drove trades onto other markets where there is less liquidity.

From the Associated Press:

"With the huge changes in the market we need again to look at market structure," said Rick Ketchum, CEO of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, a private self-regulatory group that oversees the Nasdaq.

Ketchum said firms with direct market access need safety shut-off valves so they don't "continuously feed in orders" after market drops and should consider the risk of rapid liquidity problems in fast-moving markets.

"There need to be shock absorbers in the market," Ketchum said. "We can't be in this position of redesigning what happens in trades and making decisions in what trades should be broken with respect to markets that go close to zero. That isn't an acceptable place."

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