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BATS Trading Off to a Shaky Start

The debut of BATS Global Markets as a publicly traded company hasn’t been smooth.

Shares in the country’s third-largest exchange opened at $15.25 on Friday, falling below the company’s offering price of $16 a share. Almost immediately, volatility in the stock spiked — on news of a system problem at the exchange — and BATS halted trading on its own shares.

Investors had been wary of BATS before problems emerged on Friday.

The exchange has experienced a precipitous decline in trading volumes this year, as uncertainty around the global markets has hampered business for BATS and its larger rivals, NYSE Euronext and the Nasdaq OMX Group. Reflecting the industry weakness, BATS on Thursday priced its offering at $16, the bottom of the expected price range.

The issues with the system only further spooked investors in BATS. At 10:48 a.m. on Friday, the company posted a status update, warning that the exchange operator was “investigating system issues trading in symbols range A through BF.”

The situation reportedly affected Apple‘s stock. According to Bloomberg News, the exchange erroneously executed a trade of 100 shares of Apple that drove the iPhone maker’s shares down sharply, to $542.80, triggering the circuit breaker on the stock. Shares of Apple were temporarily halted before they resumed trading a few minutes later.

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