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Saturday, April 8, 2006

TSE could resume regular hours by month end: Nishimuro


Staff writer

The Tokyo Stock Exchange could resume regular market hours by the end of the month, TSE President Taizo Nishimuro said Friday, a move that would bring an end to some three months of curtailed trading.

The bourse has been starting the afternoon trading session 30 minutes later at 1 p.m. since Jan. 19, after investors became spooked by the raid on Internet firm Livedoor Co. on Jan. 18. Panicked traders and investors flooded the system with sell orders, forcing the TSE to close trading early.

"We are hopeful that we would make our decision to return to normal trading hours sometime this month," Nishimuro said during a speech at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo.

Asia's largest bourse had said it would resume normal trading hours by the end of May, when it plans to introduce a new system to increase its daily trading capacity to 12 million orders from the current 9 million.

In addition to the January "Livedoor Shock," the TSE had suffered several technical problems in recent months, highlighting the inadequacy of its computer system to cope with the increase in online trading and the influx of individual traders.

On Nov. 1, the bourse was forced to suspend trading across the board for most of the day due to a computer problem. The following month, the computer system was unable to cancel a huge erroneous sell order from Mizuho Securities.

The string of embarrassing problems has forced the TSE to ice its own plans for going public, which it had initially hoped to do by March 31 this year.

"We realize that so many people in the market wish (the TSE) to be back to normal business hours as soon as possible," Nishimuro said, speaking in English.

He said the TSE should head a team of stock exchanges in Asia to increase the bourse's global competitiveness.

He also said the bourse needed to tie up with exchanges in Europe and the United States so it could give its customers 24-hour services.

Nishimuro said he will visit Taipei next week to chair a meeting of the Asian and Oceanian Stock Exchanges Federation, a group of 17 bourses in Asian and Oceanian economies, to exchange opinions with his counterparts on the issue of enhanced cooperation.



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