Trading activity grinds to a halt as the New York Stock Exchange temporarily suspends all trading due to technical issues. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
Trading in all securities were halted on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday following earlier reports of technical difficulties, although NYSE-listed issues was still trading on other exchanges.
After the halt, U.S. stocks extended their losses, but in low volumes, with the S&P 500 hitting a session low and the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq both falling more than 1 percent.
"It's under control. We're just waiting for word. There's no sign of panic at all," Mark Otto of J. Streicher & Co in New York said from the NYSE floor.
"We're waiting to hear word on if there's going to be a reopening, and when it is or any more details."
U.S. markets were in the red even before the halt, which started just after 11:30 a.m. ET, as the slide in Chinese markets spurred concerns over its impact on global economic growth.
Beijing unveiled yet another battery of measures to arrest the sell-off in shares and the securities regulator warned of "panic sentiment" gripping investors in the world's second-largest economy.
Chinese shares have fallen more than 30 percent in the last three weeks, and some investors fear China's turmoil is now a bigger risk than the crisis in Greece.
"With China, investors fear that could be indicative of a broader economic weakness," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.
"We've seen commodity prices fall in the recent days and there's the fear that China may be slowing down a lot more than previously thought."
Copper prices fell to a six-year low and oil prices hit a three-month low. [O/R]
Fears of a slow down in China will be a concern for U.S. companies, especially materials and industrial companies, which derive a chunk of their profit from the region.