The furious activity in the trading pits of the world's great stock exchanges often gives the feel that every second is gold dust in the relentless rush to make money. Then all of a sudden, it's kickoff time, and everything changes.

A wide-ranging study from the European Central Bank has found that the soccer World Cup has a huge impact on traders. Many stock exchanges effectively grind to a halt when the games are on.

''When the national team was playing, the number of trades dropped by 45 percent, while volumes were 55 percent lower,'' the ECB said in a study on the 2010 World Cup in South Africa that was released on its website Monday.

''Stock markets were following developments on the soccer pitch rather than in the trading pit,'' it concluded.