Shortly after noon EDT on Apr. 25, 2018, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) announced it would suspend trading on five symbols due to a price scale coding malfunction. The affected stocks are Amazon (AMZN), Booking Holdings Inc. (BKNG), Alphabet Inc. Class A and Class C (GOOGL and GOOG), and Zion Oil & Gas Inc. (ZNWAA). These stocks are still being traded on the Nasdaq, NYSE Arca, and NYSE American today.
In a trader alert, the exchange announced that trades of the five symbols will be suspended for the day and that any outstanding orders will be canceled.
"To me it sounds extremely minor and not a big deal but definitely part of the [Nasdaq symbol migration] rollout," said Joe Saluzzi, partner and co-founder at Themis Trading told CNBC.
On the NYSE, a price scale code is used convert a whole integer price in binary to a decimal price for a given stock. Price scale codes determine the decimal position of a company's converted price. Codes of 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 6 indicate the exponent of base 10 by which the whole integer price should be divided.
A NYSE API Specification document gives the following example: Whole integer price is 1350 and the price scale code is 2. To determine the decimal price, divide 1350 by 100 (10^2 or 102). The result is a decimal price of 13.50.
Earlier this morning, the exchange alerted traders that execution reports priced at $1000 or higher were being incorrectly published with a price scale code of 5. In other words, stocks priced above a $1000 threshold were being divided by a larger number than was accurate to determine their trading prices.
As of 1:15 pm today on the NASDAQ, AMZN was trading at $1450.61, GOOG at $1025.17, GOOGL at $1029.98, and BKNG at $2079.00.