Nasdaq Flash Freeze Called 'Inexcusable'

Morning Money Memo…

Regulators and stock market officials are scrambling to fix the system after trading in nearly 2,500 US stocks was shut down for much of yesterday afternoon, showing how sophisticated technology can still be a barrier to the smooth running of the stock market. Wall Street's flash freeze halted all trading on the Nasdaq exchange for three hours and suspended operations on several smaller markets. It's still not clear exactly what went wrong. Market officials say the shut-down was caused by a problem with the system that transmits data including pricing information to US markets.

"Our systems, and the industry's, have to get to a higher level of robustness," Robert Greifeld, chief executive of Nasdaq parent Nasdaq OMX Group, told The Wall Street Journal. The former chairman of the SEC, Arthur Levitt, criticized the Nasdaq for a "lack of transparency," saying the long trading halt was "inexcusable." Trader Brian Wallis at the rival New York Stock Exchange says the glitch "can't help but lose confidence in an electronic marketplace."

Stock averages closed up on a light trading day. The Dow Jones Industrial index snapped more than a week-long losing streak with a gain of 66 points. The S&P and Nasdaq averages closed higher. Asian stock markets rebounded today on encouraging economic data from China and Europe,

American consumers love a bargain. A new international survey finds US shoppers are far more likely to use coupons than people in other nations. "We're still a little bit shell-shocked from the 2008 recession," says Brian Hoyt of the coupon website RetailMeNot. "Fifty-six percent of Americans surveyed said that a deal or a discount really does influence the purchase that they're making." Many Americans regard the use of coupons as a badge of honor, says Hoyt. "We are much more of a coupon nation than the other 11 countries that we surveyed. We really do have a certain element of pride when it comes to using coupons."

Mortgage rates continue to rise. The average for a 30-year fixed-rate home loan rose last week to 4.58 percent up from 4.4 percent the week before, says Freddie Mac. The 30-year rate fell to less than 3.5 percent earlier this year.

Made in the USA! A company that makes TV's is moving a plant from China to South Carolina, bringing 500 new jobs. The Element Electronics plant will be located in Winnsboro in a building that's been vacant for several years. Officials say they picked the site because it's close to major distribution centers for Wal-Mart, Target and shopping channel QVC.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio Twitter: daviesabc