ASX shuts down after technical glitch

SYDNEY • Australia's stock exchange suspended trading for the rest of the day after earlier saying the problem that caused a 90-minute delay to yesterday's open had been resolved, drawing criticism from investors and brokerages.

The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) said in a statement that there would be no closing price auction that normally takes place at the end of the trading day.

The bourse operator said it would advise the market on the process for determining closing prices, remaining session states and status of orders.

The issue comes at an inconvenient time for investors and traders, with policy meetings scheduled at the Bank of Japan and the US Federal Reserve this week, and Australia's central bank set to release minutes from its most recent meeting today.

Australia's equity market is worth US$1.1 trillion (S$1.5 trillion), making it the sixth-largest in the Asia-Pacific region.

"I have never seen anything quite like this before," Peak Asset Management executive director Niv Dagan said.

"It is frustrating because they said they would fixed it. We hope the ASX sorts things out by tomorrow to allow traders to exit positions before the Fed meeting."

ASX delayed the normal 10am local time (8am Singapore time) equity market opening until 11.30am because of an issue relating to a component that allows it to manage individual stocks, Mr Matthew Gibbs, a spokesman for ASX, said earlier, adding that the company was working with its technology vendor, Nasdaq, to prevent a recurrence. It then halted trading in the afternoon before cancelling it for the rest of the day.

ASX's shares fell as much as 2.4 per cent before trading was halted, while the nation's benchmark equity gauge, the S&P/ASX 200 Index, was little changed.

ASX shares were up 14 per cent this year prior to yesterday, compared with a 19 per cent increase in a Bloomberg Intelligence gauge of security and commodity exchanges.

Rivkin Securities analyst James Woods said: "We were expecting it to be fairly quiet in the market. It is a bit of a black mark for the reputation."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2016, with the headline 'ASX shuts down after technical glitch'. Print Edition | Subscribe