Brokers and investors again complained of widespread service disruptions Wednesday morning when attempting to make trades using the online and mobile trading platforms of Charles Schwab, Fidelity, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley’s E-Trade, Robinhood, TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim and Vanguard.
The problems were largely chalked up to extremely high trading volumes for heavily shorted stocks including the retailer GameStop and others promoted by a group on Reddit’s WallStreetBets board.
Trading also became heavy for AMC Entertainment on Wednesday, two days after the struggling company (which was forced to close theaters amid the pandemic) reported it “successfully raised or signed commitment letters to receive $917 million of new equity and debt capital [that] should allow the company to make it through this dark coronavirus-impacted winter.”
Robinhood, meanwhile, was experiencing an intermittent disruption with its Robinhood Crypto trading service on Wednesday morning. It initially reported a “major outage” with the crypto service that was later downgraded to a “partial outage.”
The problems came just two days after similar issues were reported on the trading platforms.
Over the past week, a wave of trading fueled by WallStreetBets helped push up the stock of GameStop — which spilled over to other stocks heavily shorted by hedge funds like AMC and phonemaker BlackBerry.
The volume of GameStop shares, for instance, surged to over 177 million on Monday and Tuesday, dropping to a still-high 91 million on Wednesday. Meanwhile, its stock has risen about 350% from late Friday, when it traded at about $65 per share, to $292 per share in after-hours trading Wednesday.
Downdetector reported issues with the trading platforms starting at 8:37 a.m. Eastern time with Robinhood. Robinhood responded to various tweets complaining about service issues, telling investors to contact the firm directly about their issues.
Reports on Downdetector about the other trading platforms soon followed, up through Merrill at 9:57 a.m. There were many complaints about thinkorswim, including one investor who said: “The App is garbage today on one of the best days to trade. That’s ridiculous!”
There were a similar number of complaints on Downdetector about Schwab’s platform, including one investor who said: “Have not been able to place an order on Schwab since opening bell and it is now 11 AM. Every time the market get busy I have issues.”
It was pretty much the same story with E-Trade, with comments including: “Locked out of E-trade during selloff.” It was the same story with Vanguard, with comments including: “on hold now 44 min thus far, no web access to trading. And the same with Fidelity, with comments including: “Can’t process any order !!! Whats going on ??”