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Nasdaq breakdown puts pressure on crisis work

WASHINGTON — The latest high-tech disruption in the financial markets increases the pressure on Nasdaq and other electronic exchanges to take steps to avoid future breakdowns and manage them better if they do occur.

The three-hour trading outage on the Nasdaq stock exchange Thursday also can be expected to trigger new rounds of regulatory scrutiny on computer-driven trading. Investors' shaky confidence in the markets also took another hit.

The exchange was set to open as normal Friday.

Questions about potential dangers of the super-fast electronic trading systems that now dominate the U.S. stock markets ripple again through Wall Street and Washington. Stock trading now relies heavily on computer systems that exploit split-penny price differences. Stocks can be traded in fractions of a second, often by automated programs. That makes the markets more vulnerable to technical failures.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission expects to put forward next week a plan for new restrictions and oversight on high-speed trading, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said Friday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the CFTC commissioners haven't yet voted to open the proposed plan to public comment.


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