‘Technical issue’ shuts ASX on Monday trade

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The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) closed its trading day earlier on Monday due to technical glitches in the trading platform. Up to $3.5 billion in turnover may have been missed by the Aussie share market after a series of technical difficulties and errors disturbed and ultimately closed the first trading day of the week.

Investors and brokerages can’t help but criticize the exchange’s suspension of the day’s trading session due to the same technical error that caused a 90-minute delay to Monday’s open. The issue was earlier said to have been resolved.

ASX Ltd. gave an earlier announcement in their official website regarding the delay saying, “ASX advises that there will be a delay with the opening of the ASX equities market. We are working to resolve this matter and updates will be provided as they become available.”

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The exchange operator opened at 11:30 a.m. AEST—an hour and a half delay to the usual 10 a.m. opening—because a function that permits it to manage individual shares on its Nasdaq OMX equity trading platform was experiencing a technical issue, according to Matthew Gibbs, a spokesman for ASX in Sydney.

After a 57-minute trading and several reported operational errors, the ASX decided to close for the day. Shares only worth $1.2 billion were traded during the day, which was, according to CommSec market analyst Steven Daghlian, 20 percent of the share value traded the previous Monday.

Even before trading was halted, the ASX’s shares was already sliding by 2.4 percent in Sydney trading, while Australia’s equity gauge, the S&P/ASX 200 Index, experienced modest change.

“It’s been interrupted trade throughout the day so that’s kept the value and volume very light today,” Daghlian said. “From the ASX200 as an index, it’s just below 5,300 points still. So it’s been pretty quiet overall. If we look at the actual percentage moves so far we’re pretty flat and the market is still pretty close to its worst levels in 10 weeks. This is week six now that the market is in the red.”

With the average daily turnover for this year amounting to about $4.6 billion, ASX was unable to estimate the possible cost of the delays or the loss in overall turnover; but CMC Markets chief market analyst Ric Spooner think that traders may not have lost that much amount due to lack of market moving news on Monday morning.

“There are two drivers of how business might be lost, one is how long the market was closed for and secondly is what news has happened during the period it has been closed,” he told AAP.

“I’d say not a great deal has happened this morning, but we’ll never know.”

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With policy meetings by the Bank of Japan and Federal Reserve looming this week, and the release of Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) minutes of its recently held meeting on Tuesday, the glitches’ were very untimely for the investors and traders giving a thorough assessment of their positions.

Australia’s equity market is worth $1.1 trillion, making it the sixth-largest in the Asia-Pacific region.

“I’ve never seen anything quite like this before,” Niv Dagan, the Melbourne-based executive director at Peak Asset Management LLC, said in a phone interview. “It’s frustrating because they said they’d fixed it. We’d hope the ASX sorts things out by tomorrow to allow traders to exit positions before the Fed meeting. You’ve got traders and fund managers looking to change their portfolios before that, and unfortunately, they can’t do that.”

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