A bizarre computer glitch sent shares in dozens of US technology companies including Apple, Amazon and Microsoft to the same price on Tuesday morning, leading some to apparently lose billions in market value.
The bug showed many stocks on the Nasdaq exchange to briefly be reported as $123.47 on Bloomberg, Reuters and Google Finance data. It was triggered after financial information providers wrongly interpreted a Nasdaq data test as live prices, leading to brief pandemonium on trading floors.
Amazon’s shares were shown falling from almost $950, a drop of 87 per cent, Google owner Alphabet’s fell by 86 per cent and Apple fell by 14.3 per cent.
Other companies that have share prices well below $123.47 saw them briefly rocket. Microsoft shares jumped almost 80 per cent, giving the company a valuation of more than $1 trillion and gaming company Zynga rose by more than 3,000 per cent.
The glitch occurred in after-hours trading after the Nasdaq had closed early ahead of the July 4 holiday and led several stocks to be halted.
The exchange regularly sends out test data in which all shares are reset to $123.47, but the figures never normally make it into live prices on the data providers such as Bloomberg and Reuters on which many financial institutions rely.