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Bond ETFs Hit by Erratic Trading

tlydon@globaltrend.com (Tom Lydon)

Two bond exchange traded funds appeared to go haywire on Tuesday fresh off the heels of the Knight Capital Group (KCG) glitch that impacted some ETFs.

SPDR Nuveen S&P VRDO Municipal Bond ETF (VRD) briefly plummeted below $17 a share before snapping back to $29.90.

Similarly, SPDR BofA Merrill Lynch Emerging Markets Corporate Bond ETF (EMCD) traded in a huge range between $29.02 and $50.76 a share on Tuesday.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the trades that led to the erratic activity in the two bond ETFs would be cancelled or “busted.” Both funds are managed by State Street Global Advisors.

Trading in both funds was briefly halted Tuesday, Barron’s reports.

“The two ETFs saw their trade halted for six minutes around noon Tuesday,” according to the report. “The Nasdaq lists the issue as an Individual Security Volatility Trading Pause, which means ‘Trading has been paused in an Exchange-Listed issue that experiences a price change of 10% or more within a rolling 5 minute period of time.’ By 12:08 both had resumed trading; VRD was down 37% and EMCD was down 9.3%.”

“Unlike last Wednesday’s Knight mishaps, today’s ‘low prints’ in those two ETFs appear to be ‘clearly erroneous’ trades and are likely to be amended,” said Paul Weisbruch at Street One Financial in an email Tuesday.

Last week, some utilities ETFs briefly surged in price along with their underlying holdings due to the Knight glitch. [Knight Debacle Raises Concern Over ETF Trading, Liquidity]

The 2010 flash crash, the Knight debacle and Tuesday’s trading in the bond funds are reminders that investors should use limit orders when trading ETFs to protect themselves. [Five Lessons for ETF Investors After the Knight Meltdown]

SPDR Nuveen S&P VRDO Municipal Bond ETF