NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Trading at the Nasdaq OMX exchange resumed later Thursday afternoon following a three-hour halt due to a technical glitch.
For the most part, stocks seemed to pick up where they left off around midday: The Dow Jones industrial average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq were all modestly higher heading into the close, just as they were prior to the halt.
There was one notable exception, however. Shares of Nasdaq OMX dropped about 4%. Before the halt, exchange's stock was up nearly 1%.
The Nasdaq is home to more than 2,700 stocks, particularly technology giants such as Apple, Google and Microsoft. Trading at the Nasdaq was halted around 12:14 p.m. ET. The exchange said the pause was due to issues with "quote dissemination." Options trading was also halted, and the New York Stock Exchange and the BATS exchange had also halted all Nasdaq securities.
Nasdaq resumed trading first on Atlantic American at 3:00 p.m ET, following a 15-minute quote only period. All other securities began trading at 3:25 p.m. ET, also following a 15-minute quote only period. The quote only period, which it typically uses during initial public offerings, allowed the Nasdaq to accept buy and sell orders, and investors were also able to cancel orders during the period.
Nasdaq said it would not cancel open orders, but said customers who wished to cancel their orders could have done so before trading resumed.
SEC spokesman John Nester said the agency is "monitoring the situation" and that it is "in close contact with the exchanges."
The trading glitch could be another blow to investor confidence, which has been rattled over the years by the Flash Crash in 2010, Facebook's botched IPO, and more recently, a fat finger trade affecting China's stock market.
"We know machines run the show, but we're beginning to see glitches more and more frequently," said Ryan Detrick, senior technical strategist at Schaeffer's Investment Research. "That doesn't help overall confidence among investors."
Broader market: Despite troubles at the Nasdaq, the broader stock market moved higher Thursday. Positive economic data from both China and Europe gave investors some optimism. European markets moved solidly higher, while Asian markets ended mixed.
A survey of European purchasing managers pointed to signs that the economy may be stabilizing there. Better-than-expected data from Chinese factories gave glimmers of hope for Asia and the broader global economy.
Emerging markets breaking losing streak Indian markets also jumped higher after four consecutive trading days of steep losses. The Mumbai Sensex popped up by nearly 2%. Markets have fallen by 11% over the past month due to concerns about a flagging economy, political gridlock and an outflow of foreign investment money.
A retail rout: Looking at individual stocks on the move, several retailers plunged Thursday following weak quarterly numbers.
Abercrombie & Fitch shares plummeted after the teen-oriented clothing retailer reported a slump in quarterly sales and profits and a terrible outlook.
Traders on StockTwits are worried. American Eagle Outfitters also had a lousy earnings report this week and hopes aren't high for Aeropostale's earnings after the bell either.
CapitalObserver: Is there a demographic issue facing teen retailers? Hard to believe they are all just performing poorly $ANF $ARO $AEO
tickertutor: $ANF My guess is most "kids" in their demographic are looking to dress more adult with offerings from the likes of $KORS and others
Sears Holding reported another quarterly loss as revenues continue to fall. Investors were not pleased.
StockTwits: #3: $SHLD is down 8%. Earnings missed the Street's estimates this morning. Two big misses since Eddie Lampert became CEO.
Ralphed: $SHLD "Kmart Sucks". Sears needs realize that loss and ditch them
GameStop bucked the trend in retail. The video game seller's stock soared on better-than-expected earnings and strong guidance around the promise of new gaming consoles. Traders made light of how the stock, which has been a popular target of short sellers, continues to go higher despite many bears trying to talk it down.
FinancialJuice: GameStop $GME says sees a 'significant positive' for console demand
broseidon: Anyone remember when Cramer said short $GME, quoting "its in a secular decline" BAHAHA... Cramermerica gets burned agian LOL
In the world of tech, Hewlett-Packard shares dropped after the company announced its latest earnings on Wednesday, showing that PC sales are still in the dumps. HP is still top stock in the Dow this year though, as investors have high hopes for the turnaround plan of CEO Meg Whitman.
Gap and Pandora Media release results after the market close.