Exxon Single 100-Share Trade Triggers Price Circuit Breaker

A single trade for 100 shares of Exxon Mobil Corp. more than 6 percent below yesterday’s closing price led to the triggering of a circuit breaker, pausing trading in the stock.

The trade, later canceled, was executed at 10:33 a.m. New York time at $63.47 on an exchange operated by Bats Global Markets, according to data sent to Bloomberg. The stock closed at $68.03 yesterday and the highest price in the 5 minutes before the halt was $69.91, the data show.

Trading was paused under rules adopted after the May 6, 2010, stock market crash in which more than $860 billion was erased from the value of U.S. equities in 20 minutes. Shares are suspended if they rise or fall 10 percent within five minutes.

“It appears to be a ‘fat finger’ situation,” Mike Shea, a managing partner and trader at Direct Access Partners LLC in New York, wrote in an e-mail.

Exxon Mobil, which was surpassed by Apple Inc. yesterday as the world’s most valuable company, rose 3 percent to $70.05 at 11:32 a.m. in New York. The shares’ primary listing is on the New York Stock Exchange, owned by NYSE Euronext.

“A quote was hit, triggering a pause. We have since busted the trade,” Randy Williams, a spokesman for Bats, said in an e-mail.

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