trade falsely shows Berkshire Hathaway down 99%

A technical problem caused the loss of Warren Buffett’s Class A shares on Monday. Berkshire Hathaway appears to be down almost 100% on the New York Stock Exchange.

Trading in these shares was halted, as was that of Barrick Gold And Nuscale Power, which had also experienced spectacular falls. Barrick and Nuscale have since resumed operations.

The NYSE said shortly after 11 a.m. ET that the problems stemmed from price ranges published by the Consolidated Tape Association, the organization used by major exchanges to jointly provide real-time stock quotes. The CTA had reported an earlier failure Monday that caused it to switch to its disaster recovery center.

There were fewer than 4,000 trades recorded that day for Berkshire Class A shares when trading was halted. Trading continued on Class B shares, down less than 1% Monday morning.

Berkshire Hathaway A shares were wrongly down more than 99%.

The shutdowns do not appear to have had a noticeable effect on the value of major market averages.

The NYSE’s problems are yet another reminder that the exchanges and data providers that are at the heart of Wall Street are not entirely error-free. Other recent examples include an hour-long freeze of CME index data feeds last week and a Nasdaq system error in December that resulted in some orders being canceled.

The NYSE also had a day in January 2023 when the opening auctions of some stocks did not go smoothly.

Normally, Berkshire’s original Class A shares command one of the highest prices on Wall Street. Last week, each sold for about 45% more than the median price of a home in the United States. Class A shares reached an all-time closing high of $634,440 on March 28.

Indeed, Buffett has never split the shares, because he wants to attract investment-oriented shareholders with long-term horizons. The Ben Graham protégé said many Berkshire shareholders used their shares as a savings account.

Berkshire issued Class B shares in 1996 at a price equal to one-thirtieth of a Class A share to meet the needs of small investors wanting a small share of Buffett’s performance.

Buffett is Berkshire’s largest shareholder, owning more than 38% of Class A shares, according to FactSet. The “Oracle of Omaha” has agreed to sell the fortune he built to Berkshire, the Omaha-based conglomerate he has led since 1965.

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