SEC vows to push for new market safeguards after Nasdaq failure

Financial market regulators are pledging to push ahead with new rules to strengthen trading after Thursday’s interruption on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

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Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairwoman Mary Jo White said in a statement on Thursday evening that the agency “is determined to enhance the safeguards necessary for strong market systems.

“As one step, I will work to advance rules that the Commission proposed earlier this year regarding new standards for the trading and other systems that are central to the integrity of our markets. I also will shortly convene a meeting of the leaders of the exchanges and other major market participants to accelerate ongoing efforts to further strengthen our markets,” she said.

The SEC’s pledge to increase its scrutiny came in response to a roughly three-hour break at the Nasdaq exchange, the second largest stock exchange in the country and home to major brand names like Apple and Microsoft.

Though the interruption in the market lasted only a few hours, it was nonetheless “serious and should reinforce our collective commitment to addressing technological vulnerabilities of exchanges and other market participants,” White said.

The disruption in trading left firms scrambling and analysts worried about the resiliency of the technical systems that underpin the financial market.

The impact was felt from Wall Street to Washington. President Obama was briefed on the market glitch, and congressional banking committees were also keeping tabs on the situation.

Stock prices rose slightly in the exchange’s composite index on Thursday, despite the exchange's hiccups.

The turmoil presents the latest problem for the SEC’s oversight of Nasdaq. The exchange has previously been chided for delays and technical problems during the initial public offering of Facebook’s stock last year.