Will NASDAQ’s Reputation Suffer From The Trading Outage

Will NASDAQ’s Reputation Suffer From The Trading Outage
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After NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:NDAQ)’s temporary shut down last week, there are still some concerns about lasting damage to the exchange’s reputation. Even though there haven’t been any material losses reported like there were during Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s IPO, such losses would be difficult to measure and traders now have to ask themselves if there is an inherent risk in dealing with some exchanges over others.

Will NASDAQ's Reputation Suffer From The Trading Outage

NASDAQ traffic hasn’t dropped off

In the immediate aftermath of the temporary closure, NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:NDAQ) traffic hasn’t dropped off. “We look to NASDAQ’s market share today versus recent levels to determine if market participants are actively avoiding NASDAQ’s exchanges in the wake of yesterday’s events,” write Patrick O’Shaughnessy and Cory Dlugozima for Raymond James & Associates. “Our initial conclusion: they are not.”

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NASDAQ’s U.S. equity market share is actually up slightly, 16.2 percent versus a five day average of 15.1 percent. The results for NASDAQ BX and NASDAQ PSX are mixed, but there still isn’t any sign of a mass exodus away from NASDAQ.

Their conclusion is that NASDAQ has come through unscathed because of their professional handling of the event, but analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) are less optimistic. “The incident on August 22 reintroduces risks to some of the firm’s ancillary businesses and we believe will act as an overhang on the stock,” writes Alexander Blostein for Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS), but the practical repercussions are still unclear. He continues, “Our rating, price target and EPS estimates remain unchanged.”

NASDAQ has held 47 percent of U.S. IPO’s

The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:NDAQ) has held 47 percent of U.S. IPO’s since the Facebook debacle, up from 40 percent for the three years before that, so there is no reason to think that the occasional glitch will drive people away, but part of the underlying problem is the increasing complexity of trade orders that take all exchanges into account when determining whether to buy or sell. Exchanges can’t monopolize specific stocks, so orders at one exchange are conditioned on the prices available at competing exchanges, and constantly checking other prices increases traffic enormously.

If it turns out that some exchanges are better able to handle the increasing volume and complexity of this traffic, especially if crashes and temporary closures stop being rare, it’s easy to imagine traders giving some exchanges preference at equal or nearly equal prices.

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