12/18/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Suicide: Brazilian Trader Paulo Sergio Silva Shoots Himself At Financial Exchange

A bizarre year in finance took another tragic turn in Brazil today, where a trader apparently shot himself on the open trading floor of the Sao Paulo commodities and futures exchange.

Paulo Sergio Silva, 36, a trader for the brokerage arm of Brazilian banking giant Itau, shot himself in the chest during the afternoon trading session, the exchange said, and hospital staff said he was in critical condition.

Silva was given first aid on the scene before being transported to the hospital, BM&F Bovespa SA, which operates the exchange, said in a statement without providing further details.

The year has already been a difficult one for Brazilian traders, who were forced to stop trading during the worst of the global economic crisis in late October. After Silva shot himself, trading was halted again on the floor, though not electronically:

Trading in derivatives and commodities was halted for 15 minutes after the shooting occurred shortly after 3:30 p.m. local time (12:30 p.m. New York time), BM&FBovespa, Latin America's largest securities exchange, said in a statement. Traders said people on the floor scurried after the incident, which took place in the interbank rate contract pit.

``It was quite a shock,'' said Decio Pecequilo, senior trader at TOV Corretora in Sao Paulo.

Electronic trading wasn't halted, an exchange spokesman said. Stocks on the exchange are only traded electronically.