Berkshire Hathaway Resumes Trading after Major Glitch at NYSE Causes Shares to Plunge 99%

The trading of Berkshire Hathaway A-class has resumed at the New York Stock Exchange after a major glitch that caused its share price to plummet 99.9%. 

A technical problem at the New York Stock Exchange on Monday led to a significant drop in the A-class shares of Berkshire Hathaway, a company owned by Warren Buffett. Trading in these shares, as well as in Barrick Gold and Nuscale Power, was paused due to the issue, although Barrick and Nuscale have since resumed trading.

The NYSE mentioned in an update at 10:11 a.m. ET that the problem was being investigated and was related to the limit up and limit down bands, which are used to stop stocks from trading in cases of extreme volatility. The exact number of affected stocks remains unknown.

The cause of the technical malfunction is still unclear. Following the NYSE’s statement about facing problems, the Consolidated Tape Association indicated an earlier malfunction that prompted a shift to its disaster recovery center for real-time stock quotes dissemination.

During the trading halt, there were fewer than 4,000 recorded trades for Berkshire’s A-class shares. Conversely, trading was ongoing for the B-class shares, which experienced a minor drop of less than 1% on Monday morning.

The halts did not seem to have a noticeable impact on the major market indices. This event underscores that exchanges and data providers on Wall Street, crucial components of the financial system, are not immune to errors. Recent instances include a CME index data feed freeze last week and a Nasdaq system issue in December resulting in order cancellations.

Buffett’s net worth suffered a rapid decline as a consequence of the technical glitch, causing him to drop from being the 6th richest person globally, as per Forbes, to being ranked 2521st as of the present day. 

Berkshire Hathaway’s Class A shares, which are known to carry a high price tag on Wall Street, reached a record closing high of $634,440 on March 28.

In spite of the incident, Buffett has never split the stock as he aims to attract long-term, investment-focused shareholders. Berkshire introduced Class B shares in 1996 at a price equivalent to one thirtieth of a Class A share to accommodate smaller investors seeking to participate in Buffett’s performance. 

The billionaire investor is the largest shareholder of Berkshire, with ownership exceeding 38% of the Class A shares, according to FactSet. Buffett, often referred to as the “Oracle of Omaha,” has pledged to donate his wealth accumulated at Berkshire, a conglomerate based in Omaha that he has overseen since 1965.