NASDAQ head 'deeply disappointed' by trading freeze

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Trading of some of the nation's most high-profile stocks came to a halt Thursday afternoon, when a technical glitch involving a data feed that provides stock quotes forced the exchange to freeze activity.

The error appeared to wreak little economic damage, as stocks on other exchanges remained steady and the NASDAQ actually turned higher once it was reopened.

But the goof reverberated in Washington, as top financial regulators and even President Obama were briefed on the matter. The congressional banking committees were also tracking the situation Thursday, but no decisions have been made about investigating the matter.

Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White responded to the outage by vowing to push to implement rules establishing new standards on exchanges, and will be convening a meeting of exchange leaders and other market participants to discuss the matter.

Griefeld said the exchange decided to freeze trading because it realized the problem with the data feed would lead to investors receiving unequal amounts of information. Professional, high frequency traders would continue to get individual quotes, but retail investors wouldn't have the same information.

"Because of that, we halted the market," he said.

Griefeld said NASDAQ had to get better at "defensive driving," that is, ensuring the overall system can continue to function if there is a problem with a specific piece of it.