Nasdaq acknowledges trading problems with Facebook's IPO

Exchange's CEO says design problems created confusion among traders ahead of and during the highly anticipated offering.

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Trading in Facebook shares began Friday on Nasdaq -- after a 30-minute delay. Sarah Tew/CNET

Design problems with Nasdaq's technology interfered with Facebook's IPO, the stock exchange's chief executive acknowledged today.

Tests conducted ahead of Friday's highly anticipated offering failed to detect problems with order cancellation, Robert Greifeld told reporters in an interview reported by The Wall Street Journal. He said Nasdaq was "humbly embarrassed" by the problems.

"This was not our finest hour," he said, adding that Nasdaq's board met Saturday to discuss the matter.

However, he maintained that the glitch was not responsible for the plunge in share price the stock experienced. Not long after the stock began trading Friday at $42.05, shares tumbled to their $38 offering price.

"It would lead a reasonable person to conclude that it didn't have an impact on the stock price," he said, according to a New York Times account of the interview.

Nasdaq officials also told the Journal that the exchange is planning to redesign its IPO systems, although no further details were provided.

Greifeld's comments were the first public admission by the exchange that technical glitches may have contributed to confusion among traders after the IPO's opening was delayed 30 minutes on Friday. Traders complained they were not able to confirm changes or cancellations made to Facebook orders starting as early as 4:30 a.m. PT. Later on in the morning, some traders said they had not received confirmation from Nasdaq that transactions had actually been completed.

Angry traders and investors are demanding the exchange compensate them for any losses incurred as a result of the glitch, according to a Fox Business report today. Those demands could add up to $100 million, but Greifeld said the exchange will not cover the losses, Fox reported.

Facebook shares finished the day at $38.27 -- up just 27 cents, or 0.71 percent, over their $38 opening.

Bloomberg reported Friday that the SEC will review Nasdaq's performance in regards to trading of Facebook shares. However, the news service noted that the commission "routinely" conducts such reviews.

CNET's complete coverage: Facebook's monster IPO

A snafu with another stock exchange IPO in March caused Apple shares to briefly plunge more than 9 percent when shares in BATS Global Markets, a stock-exchange rival to both the NYSE and the Nasdaq, were halted due to "clearly erroneous" trades. BATS issued its own alert reporting "system issues in symbols range A through BF" -- a range that includes Apple (AAPL).