The first sign of trouble on the New York Stock Exchange was a color — a sickly yellow.

On the hand-held computers on the cavernous trading floor, that color meant one thing: the Big Board was down.

What began Wednesday morning with a seemingly workaday software glitchsoon escalated into one of the most startling computer outages in Wall Street history — and, for the Big Board, a race against the clock.

At the 9:30 a.m. opening bell, traders’ orders for some stocks weren’t reaching the proper destinations for processing. Techies were frantic to fix the problem. At about 9:32 a.m., they succeeded.

Two hours later, boom….

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