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Vanguard Web System Down in Busy Week

A computer network outage at The Vanguard Group, which manages $1.1 trillion in mutual fund assets, temporarily left customers unable to access online accounts Thursday afternoon.

The glitch blocked customers from using Vanguard's Web site to place trades or check 401(k)s and other accounts in the wake of Tuesday's big sell-off on Wall Street.

Vanguard spokesman John Woerth said the outage lasted about an hour. It did not prevent customers from registering trades by calling Vanguard's toll-free number; if they did so they would have been guaranteed a fund's 4 p.m. price, Woerth said. Mutual funds are priced once a day.

Computer woes have saddled other systems in this busy trading week.

High volume delayed the processing of trades at the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq Stock Market and major brokerages. In the heat of Tuesday's session, trade data had to be shifted from a backlogged computer at Dow Jones & Co. to another system, and when it caught up the Dow industrials dropped 178 points in a minute.

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