Jardine Matheson's US$41 billion tumble no fat finger error, says SGX

The Singapore Exchange Centre in Shenton Way.
The Singapore Exchange Centre in Shenton Way.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (REUTERS) - Jardine Matheson Holdings shares listed in Singapore traded down 83 per cent on Thursday, wiping nearly US$41 billion (S$55.8 billion) off its market value, before rebounding in what the Singapore Exchange said was orderly trading and not a "fat finger" error.

About 167,500 shares in the Hong Kong-headquartered conglomerate traded at US$10.99 versus Wednesday's closing price of US$66.47, traders said. The trades were executed at a price that was transparent to the market and there had been enough time for participants to react, the Singapore Exchange concluded after reviewing the matter.

It therefore found no basis to cancel the transactions. Sellers could have withdrawn their orders if they did not wish to sell at that price, the exchange said in a statement. "Trading was orderly and there was no sign of manipulation. We have also ascertained that the orders were not due to fat finger errors or any malfunctioning systems on the part of the participants," it said. The stock later bounced back to trade at US$66.80.

One local trader said it looked like a "fat finger" trade and the seller likely requested the exchange cancel the trade. Reuters was not able to identify the broker involved in the trade.

"The transaction was divided into 164 trades, suggesting there could be more than a hundred counterparts behind this trade," said CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang.

"This makes it an extremely difficult task for the stock exchange to recall or cancel it, and the seller will need to bear the losses," she said.

Jardine Matheson said in a statement it believed an electronic trading error was the cause. The company operates in a variety of businesses including auto sales, luxury hotels, property development, financial services and food retailing.