The New York Stock Exchange came to a screeching halt amid what the NYSE said were "technical issues that affected symbols," according to Bloomberg's Julie Hyman.

That's not all though. According to USA Today:

The losses in U.S. stocks following a global selloff Wednesday accelerated when trading at the New York Stock Exchange suddenly halted for unknown technical reasons.

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The Dow Jones industrial average was already off 177 points to 17,600 when at 11:32 a.m. ET trading in all securities on the NYSE stopped.

Even with the NYSE shut down, stock losses accelerated with the Dow's loss briefly exceeding 200 points. The outage didn't affect other markets including the Nasdaq Stock Market. In fact, trading in NYSE-listed stocks was still occurring on other exchanged, including the Nasdaq.

The NYSE issued the following statement:

"We're currently experiencing a technical issue that we're working to resolve as quickly as possible. We will be providing further updates as soon as we can, and are doing our utmost to produce a swift resolution, communicate thoroughly and transparently, and ensure a timely and orderly market re-open."

"I don't think it's a hacking incident here or anything like that," Joe Saluzzi, co-head of equity trading at Chatham, New Jersey-based Themis Trading LLC, told Bloomberg. "Based on what I've seen in the past, these type of things are usually some sort of issues related to an upgrade, maybe to handle the excessive traffic that's constantly coming in with high-speed trading."

By 1 pm EST, the Dow had dropped 163 points to 17,614, the Standard and Poor's 500 index dipped 1.1% and the Nasdaq composite index was off by 1.3%.

Forecasters have been warning that this fall the markets are in for a shock that could be devastating for the economy. Is this just a prelude to that or is this merely a technical difficulty?

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