By Rodrigo Campos and Doris Frankel
NEW YORK/CHICAGO (Reuters) - Options trading on several major exchanges was halted on Monday due to an unexplained problem with the computer system that distributes price quotes, the latest in a series of technology failures to force an outage in U.S. securities trading.
The problem early Monday afternoon occurred in the Options Price Reporting Authority, a computer system that disseminates options price quotes and completed trades from the exchanges and distributes these to market data vendors.
Affected exchanges included those operated by Nasdaq OMX PHLX <NDAQ.O>, MIAX Options Exchange and CBOE Holdings <CBOE.O>, the exchanges said in alerts to market participants.
A spokesman for NYSE Euronext <NYX.N> said that the problem with OPRA, which is overseen by several exchanges including NYSE, was a quote processing problem. It was resolved, with trading resuming around 2:15 p.m. EDT.
The outage comes days after U.S. exchanges officials met with the head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and pledged to ramp up efforts to prevent such problems. That meeting was in response to an August 22 computer failure at Nasdaq that caused a three-hour outage in all Nasdaq-listed common stocks.
"We have a system that is broken and overly complex and the SEC is not addressing this," said Joe Saluzzi, co-manager of trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey.
"You can't have major markets shutting down in the middle of the day like this. Every time this happens, whether it's a mini flash crash or a glitch, it is setting you up for the next big earthquake."
On Friday, trading on two of CBOE's securities exchanges was halted for more than half an hour as well due to unidentified technical problems with OPRA. U.S. options are traded on a dozen different venues, but problems with the price reporting authority can affect several exchanges at once.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos, Herbert Lash, Chuck Mikolajczak and Angela Moon in New York and Doris Frankel in Chicago; Editing by Dan Burns and Phil Berlowitz)