For five minutes today, from 10:57 to 11:02 a.m. EST, according to the The Wall Street Journal's Steven Russolillo, Apple stock stopped trading for reasons, at first, nobody could figure out, but now look attributable to the "bad trades" on the BATS market. Beyond not understanding what that really means, observers found the whole thing particularly mysterious because Apple has quite the strong stock, reaching over $600-per-share during the launch of its new iPad. It has gotten so valuable that some folks have compared the company's value to the entire country of Poland and the entire U.S. retail sector. Apple will be okay after the debacle, but BATS, which is a small alternative-to-NASDAQ stock exchange.
Trades coming in way below the usual price halted the stock, from what Deal Journal's Dave Benoit is calling "technical issues." The market's site has an alert up top saying "BATS has declared self-help against another market center, or is actively investigating an issue. Further information will be provided below as it becomes available." This glitch caused Apple's stock to go from $551.66 to $542.80 in microseconds, according to FactSet, via Russolillo. And, it has also caused BATS stock, on its first day out -- the company IPO-ed today -- to an eventual halt after opening lower than expected, notes Benoit.