The nation’s major stock and commodity markets may halt trading for at least 30 minutes if war breaks out in the Persian Gulf to give investors time to react, sources said Tuesday.
Government and market officials said they expected the exchanges themselves to impose a half-hour trading stoppage if combat begins during regular trading hours in the United States.
But the sources, who requested anonymity, also said a halt would probably not be necessary if shooting starts overnight--before the U.S. markets open.
A plan agreed to late last week anticipates a temporary halt on the New York and American stock exchanges as well as the over-the-counter stock market run by the National Assn. of Securities Dealers, the sources said.
A spokesman for at least one exchange, however, said there was no agreement to a specific 30-minute delay.
The possible trading halt was said to be initiated by the exchanges themselves. The Securities and Exchange Commission has authority to suspend trading, with the President’s permission, during market emergencies.
Senior market and government officials have been in close contact about the crisis and would probably coordinate action during an emergency, as they did during the stock market mini-crash in October, 1989.