What is Stock Halt?
Stock halt, also termed as trading halt, refers to a scenario when security or stock is temporarily suspended from trading in the respective market it was getting traded on account of factors like the imposition of regulatory actions, significant news which is being anticipated or to rectify a phase where there is excessive buying or selling of the particular security and even at times when a company goes for merger and acquisition, the trading may be put to a halt for time being till the merger or acquisition is over.
How Does it Work?
- Stock halt is a rare scenario where a stock exchange will announce a prohibition on the trading of a particular share. During this phase, brokers will not be allowed to trade on the stock i.e., buy or sell the security both for themselves or for retail investors like us. There are limited pre-prescribed scenarios when an exchange can announce a trading halt, and again there is a fixed set of rules which need to be followed for the stock to trade again after the halt.
- During exceptional events, an entire exchange may also halt from trading. The main purpose is to match the demand and supply of the stock i.e., to match the buyers and sellers for the particular security and to make sure there is smooth execution to the trade.
- Both NASDAQ and NYSE have got the best of their interest to keep the process of trading smooth and orderly. In fact, this is the motto of all exchanges around the world. Thus when there is some major and significant news based on security where it can lead to trading orders going out of a balance, exchanges can freeze or halt the trading of the particular stock to prevent investors from suffering huge financial losses. This is primarily done so that the investors don’t blame the exchanges for such huge losses.
Examples of Stock Halt
Few examples are as follows:
#1 – NSE(India)
Due to the Corona Virus pandemic, when oil prices went for a toss and hit rock bottom level stock market took the hit and stock were getting impacted badly with falling share prices. The entire exchange was halted for trading for thirty minutes to get back to a balance of buy and sell and again resume after 30 mins.
#2 – Sundance Resource Limited(Australia)
In a tragic accident in 2010 due to a plane crash, the CEO and Chairman were victims of the accident. The share was halted immediately from Australian stock exchanges to prepare the investors to confront the news and not create a panic situation, which would have led otherwise to excessive selling of the stock.
There are generally few scenarios when the trading halt takes place, and securities are coded with a unique identification number. When a share is halted from trading by exchange, it will issue an announcement to all the brokers and market about the suspension of the stock from trading. When a stock is trading at more than one exchange, the halt is applicable for all exchanges. Brokers then cannot quote the stock price or do trading from their individual accounts. Again when the exchange plans to lift the halt, they will issue another announcement a few minutes before they lift the halt. As discussed when a halt takes place, a stock gets marked by a code which is as follows:
- T1: Significant news pending and share are halted pending the release of the news.
- T2: News released, and trading is halted for investors to get adjusted to the news and from preventing them from panic selling.
- T5: Trading takes a halt on account of a stock having more than a 10% change in its price within a period of five minutes.
- H10: This type of halt takes place when the Security Exchange Commission or SEC imposes restrictions on a particular share from trading.
Triggers of Stock Halt
- The trading halt is primarily an effect of news and price volatility.
- During an occasion when the price of a stock is changing, which is impacting its prices or 10% or more within a span of five minutes, it is a situation when a stock halt scenario gets triggered, and an exchange can put a halt to its trading.
- The stock price can fluctuate up and down and get halted from trading due to frequent changes in volatility or circuit breaker scenarios. SEC can suspend many penny stocks from trading when they doubt of any kind of stock promotion or fraudulent activity.
- Also, a type of T12 halt is also applied, which is considered to be a bad halt, for the share, which had traded a lot, but there was so ground reason for the long run. Generally, in these cases, when the halt is lifted, the stock comes crashing down.
What Happens When A Stock Is Halted
When trading is halted, the particular security will no longer be able to trade in the stock exchanges. It has been listed till the time the halt is lifted back. It means brokers and retail investors will not be able to trade in that particular stock i.e., buy or sell the securities for a specific period of time. Also, rare occasions, after a share halt is implied on a share like, for example, a T12 category halt, stock prices will generally come crashing down after the lift is halted. A T12 halt is a bad halt applied overstock, which has gained the long run for no concrete reasons. Thus after the halt, the market will make corrections, which leads to the downfall of its prices.
Reasons for Halt
- Merger and acquisition.
- Crucial news or information, be it positive or negative about the company in the market.
- SEC may impose regulatory imposition and prohibit the stock from doing business on rounds of doubt or fraudulent activities.
- An occasion when huge or materialistic changes happen to the financial health of the company.
- To provide the entire market participant to be aware of some significant information about a stock or security.
- To eradicate any kind of illegal practice of arbitrage options.
- To provide other markets or exchanges, receive the news simultaneously.
- To protect investors from suffering huge monetary losses.
- To prevent the stock from becoming a victim of panic buying or panic selling.
- There are certain scenarios when, after a halt is lifted, the share price comes plummeting down.
- A long halt may lead to losses in the form of interested investors to the share who lose the opportunity of trading.
- The investor is at a loss as they cannot buy the stock at rock bottom prices and profit from the rise in the stock price.
This has been a guide to the stock halt and its definition. Here we discuss examples, rules, triggers, and how does stock halt work. You may learn more about financing from the following articles –