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<<What does it mean when you see this in financial news headlines? What's going on behind the scenes?>>

Here's how I understand it (and anyone is welcome to correct me or explain in more detail...):

Stock exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange operate by matching buyers with sellers, buy orders with sell orders. Most times, there's sufficient volume from both sides and things work fairly smoothly. But now and then, there may be way too many buy orders and not enough people interested in selling. Or vice versa. At these times, there's an order imbalance and the exchange sort of takes a time out while things get more in order.

This can happen if, for example, some absolutely wonderful news is released before the market opens. Thus, many buy orders for a company might be placed. But perhaps few people want to sell... so a temporary problem occurs.

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