Market Activity Up 75% on First Day of 2013

U.S. stock market activity was up more than 75 percent on Wednesday, as trading firms and investors rode a wave of relief generated by Congress reaching agreement on a budget bill that averted deep spending cuts and most scheduled tax increases.

Avoiding the “fiscal cliff” led to 7.8 billion shares changing hands by the end of the regular trading day, according to statistics maintained by BATS Global Markets.

That was 75.8 percent above the average of the last five trading days and 92.8 percent above the volume of trading last Wednesday, the day after Christmas.

That followed a surge of 46 percent in trading volume in Europe, by its midday.

How long volume will stay up remains to be seen.

Daily volume in November on exchanges operated by NYSE Euronext, Nasdaq OMX Group, BATS Global Markets and Direct Edge averaged 4.6 billion shares, according to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. That was down 13.8 percent from the 5.3 million shares traded a day in November a year ago.

The SIFMA stats of the major exchanges closely track Nasdaq’s compilation of consolidated volume from all sources.

For November, Nasdaq pegged daily volume in 21 trading days at 6.2 billion shares. That is down 15.1 percent from the 7.3 billion shares it recorded, on average, for 21 days in November 2011.

SIFMA and Nasdaq summaries for December’s average volume have not yet been published.

The first day of trading on the London Stock Exchange in 2013 was disrupted by a technical problem that delayed the release of many company announcements by 90 minutes.

Traders returning to work Wednesday were unable to see disclosures that should have been distributed by the LSE’s Regulatory News Service at 7 a.m. until shortly after 8:30 a.m., according to Financial Times.