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SEC Report Soon on Market Circuit Breakers

I am expecting the SEC to issue a preliminary report on the causes of the May 6 drop today or tomorrow.

Along with the preliminary report, they will separately be issuing details on individual stock circuit breakers. Sources tell me that the single stock breaker will kick in when an individual stock drops 10 percent in a 5-minute period; this will halt trading in that stock for 5 minutes across all trading platforms.

Three other components of this issue have been widely discussed, and may or may not be part of the single stock circuit breaker announcement:

1) changes in the macro circuit breaker. Markets are currently halted when the Dow Jones Industrial Average drops 10, 20, and 30 percent (how long it is halted depends on the size of the drop and the time of day). This macro breaker will be changed to the S&P 500 and the percentage drops that kick in to halt trading will be tightened.

2) specific rules on breaking trades.

3) a proposal for a centralized audit trail, whereby the SEC will designate an agency (likely FINRA) to collect and centralize trading data across all exchanges.

SEC chief Mary Schapiro, along with representatives of key exchanges, will be testifying this Thursday in the U.S. Senate in what is essentially a mirror of the hearings held last Thursday in the House Financial Services Committee.

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  • A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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