Wall Street: The Paperwork Predicament

The nation's overburdened stock markets called time out last week, but investors didn't seem to hear the whistle. Stock exchanges and the over-the-counter market took a one-day holiday to let brokerage houses attack a mountain of paperwork that has swamped clerical staffs. The shutdown was the first of three consecutive Wednesday closings to be followed by a similar non-trading day on Friday, July 5.

When the markets opened last Thursday, a burst of trading toppled volume records not only on both major stock exchanges but also, by brokers' estimates, in the over-the-counter...