A temporary pause in trading on a particular security or futures contract. For securities, a trading halt is sometimes issued pending the release of news but may also occur due to an imbalance of buy and sell orders. On a futures exchange, a trading halt may be called when the bid or ask for a given contract exceeds the maximum price fluctuation. In either case, the purpose of the halt is to prevent irrational buying or panic selling and repair market liquidity by giving investors a chance to pause and appraise the situation. See circuit breaker.