Quick Cheat Sheet On Circuit Breakers & Limit Down Futures

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We wanted to give you a brief snapshot of how futures work in "limit down" mode pre-market and then give you a quick hit on how the actual stock market circuit breakers work.  Today we may actually see the circuit breakers come into play after the stock market opens for trading.

Broken_merger_torn_moneyDJIA futures are down 550 points, S&P Futures are halted at -60 points at 855.20, and NASDAQ at -85 points at 1168.50.  These levels can extend to -10% after the open before circuit breakers come back into play.  The way this works is that the futures can reopen if the bids magically come back and the markets would rise, but otherwise futures are halted until the stock market open.  after -10% is reached in futures there is a 2 minute halt, then the limit is extended to allow for -20% with a halt for 2 minutes, and then the limit is extended to 30% down.

Here are the CIRCUIT BREAKERS FOR THE DJIA after the market opens:

  • Level 1 Halt: a 1,100-point drop in the DJIA before 2 p.m. willhalt trading for one hour; for 30 minutes if between 2 p.m. and 2:30p.m.; and have no effect if at 2:30 p.m. or later unless there is alevel 2 halt.
  • Level 2 Halt: a 2,200-point drop in the DJIA before 1:00 p.m. willhalt trading for two hours; for one hour if between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00p.m.; and for the remainder of the day if at 2:00 p.m. or later.
  • Level 3 Halt: a 3,350-point drop will halt trading for the remainder of the day regardless of when the decline occurs.

Jon C. Ogg
October 24, 2008