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What Happened to Berkshire Hathaway Stock? NYSE Fixes Glitch That Showed 99.97% Drop

In a bizarre turn of events on Monday morning, Berkshire Hathaway’s Class A shares were erroneously displayed as having plummeted nearly 100%, causing significant confusion and concern among investors. The technical glitch on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) led trading websites to show a 99.97% loss for the conglomerate helmed by billionaire investor Warren Buffett. The issue was later resolved, and the NYSE confirmed that the error was due to a technical malfunction rather than any actual trading activity.

For much of Monday morning, trading platforms displayed Berkshire Hathaway’s Class A shares at $185.10, a sharp decline from their actual price of around $635,000. This erroneous data caused the market capitalization of Berkshire Hathaway to appear to have dropped from nearly $900 billion to below $1 billion. The dramatic fall triggered an automatic “limit up-limit down” trading halt, designed to prevent stocks from trading outside of a normal price range.

A spokesperson for the NYSE attributed the glitch to inaccurate real-time share price information provided by the Consolidated Tape Association (CTA), a modern-day ticker tape provider. This erroneous data automatically triggered trading halts as part of the exchange’s volatility control mechanisms.

The NYSE promptly addressed the issue, explaining that the glitch was due to a technical problem with the CTA’s Securities Information Processor, which consolidates bid and ask quotes from various exchanges. By late morning, the NYSE had reverted to a backup data center operating on an older software version, effectively resolving the issue.

Despite the resolution, the incident had already caused a significant stir. Many investors attempted to capitalize on the apparent dip, trying to buy Berkshire Hathaway shares at the drastically reduced prices. However, officials from Wall Street trading firms indicated that these trades would likely be reversed under the exchange’s policy on “clearly erroneous transactions.”

Berkshire Hathaway was not the only stock affected. Other major stocks, including Chipotle, GameStop, AMC, and Barrick Gold, also experienced trading halts due to the same glitch. GameStop and AMC, both part of the recent meme stock frenzy, were particularly notable for their dramatic fluctuations.

The NYSE stated that it would cancel all erroneous trades in Berkshire Hathaway’s Class A shares executed between 9:50 a.m. and 9:51 a.m. Eastern Time at or below $603,718.30. This decision, aimed at maintaining market integrity, was not subject to appeal. By the end of the day, Berkshire’s Class A shares had resumed trading at their correct levels, closing slightly higher.

The NYSE and CTA are conducting a thorough investigation to determine the root cause of the glitch. Preliminary reports suggest that the issue may have been related to a recent software update. To prevent future occurrences, the CTA has reverted to the previous software version and will conduct a comprehensive review before implementing any further updates.

The glitch serves as a stark reminder of the vulnerabilities in the complex systems that underpin modern financial markets. While the error was resolved relatively quickly and did not significantly impact the broader market, it highlights the need for robust safeguards and rapid response mechanisms.

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