Precisely 24 hours ago, in an attempt to pre-empt the panic-selling open, the NYSE invoked the little used Rule 48, which was to be expected: the Nasdaq 100 has just tumbled limit down and the S&P and DJIA would follow shortly. Today, however, it is unclear just why the NYSE decided to once again invoke Rule 48 as futures are set to open about 3-4% higher, and yet that is precisely what the NYSE did. As a reminder, what this means is that mandatory opening indications are not required, which in theory should make it easier to open stocks.
As further reminder, yesterday in conjunction with the liquidity meltdown, this led to mangled ETFs left and right. Let's hope today is different, even though as we showed earlier, ES liquidity today is even worse than yesterday.
The complete reminder of what Rule 48 is:
Rule 48. Exemptive Relief — Extreme Market Volatility Condition
(a) In the event that extremely high market volatility is likely to have a Floor-wide impact on the ability of DMMs to arrange for the fair and orderly opening, reopening following a market-wide halt of trading at the Exchange, or closing of trading at the Exchange and that absent relief, the operation of the Exchange is likely to be impaired, a qualified Exchange officer may declare an extreme market volatility condition with respect to trading on or through the facilities of the Exchange.
(b) In the event that an extreme market volatility condition is declared with respect to trading on or through the facilities of the Exchange, a qualified Exchange officer shall be empowered to temporarily suspend at the opening of trading or reopening of trading following a market-wide trading halt: (i) the need for prior Floor Official or prior NYSE Floor operations approval to open or reopen a security at the Exchange (Rules 123D(1) and 79A.30); and/or (ii) applicable requirements to make pre-opening indications in a security (Rules 15 and 123D(1)).
(c) A suspension under section (b) of this Rule is subject to the following provisions:
(1) (A) Before declaring an extreme market volatility condition, the qualified Exchange officer shall consider the facts and circumstances that are likely to have Floor-wide impact for a particular trading session, including volatility in the previous day's trading session, trading in foreign markets before the open, substantial activity in the futures market before the open, the volume of pre-opening indications of interest, evidence of pre-opening significant order imbalances across the market, government announcements, news and corporate events, and such other market conditions that could impact Floor-wide trading conditions.
(B) Such review shall be undertaken in consultation with relevant officers of NYSE Market and NYSE Regulation, as appropriate. Following the review, the qualified Exchange officer or his or her designee shall document the basis for declaring an extreme market volatility condition.
(2) The qualified Exchange officer will, as promptly as practicable in the circumstances, inform the Securities and Exchange Commission staff that an extreme market volatility condition has been declared, the basis for such declaration, and what relief has been granted.
(3) An extreme market volatility condition may only be declared before the scheduled opening or reopening following a market-wide halt of securities at the Exchange.
(4) A declaration of an extreme market volatility condition shall be in effect only for the particular opening or reopening for the trading session on the particular day that the extreme market volatility condition is determined to exist. The Exchange may declare a separate extreme market volatility condition on subsequent days subject to sections (b)(1) through (b)(3) above.
(5) A declaration of extreme market volatility shall not relieve DMMs from the obligation to make pre-opening indications in situations where the opening of a security is delayed for reasons unrelated to the extreme market volatility condition.
(d) For purposes of this Rule, a "qualified Exchange officer" means the Chief Executive Officer of ICE, or his or her designee, or the Chief Executive Officer of NYSE Regulation, Inc., or his or her designee.