Fire, glitches hit Canadian exchanges : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Fair use for educational/research purposes only! Fire, glitches hit Canadian exchanges

By Martin Cej, Last Update: 4:30 PM ET Aug 22, 2000 NewsWatch Latest headlines

TORONTO (CBS.MW) - Canadian stock investors were hamstrung Tuesday when all of the country's equity markets were shut temporarily at different times of the day due to fire or technical glitches.

The Toronto Stock Exchange, Canada's largest equity market, was forced to delay the open of trade for 55 minutes because a "file had not been cleared as a result of human error," the exchange said.

About an hour later, an explosion in the building housing the tech- and resource-laden Canadian Venture Exchange in Vancouver, the country's primary market for small-cap stocks, halted trading.

Unfortunately for the Montreal Exchange, Canada's premier derivatives exchange, and the Winnipeg Stock Exchange, the CDNX's computers host their trading systems so they were forced to close their doors.

"You'd think they'd have a back-up system. The ramifications of markets just closing on people is severe," said Peter Schendel, a portfolio manager at Strathy Investment Management in Toronto. "Markets had a good day today, but if you traded on the CDNX, Montreal or Winnipeg, you missed out."

"It's very irritating," he said.

The TSE's glitch extends a series of technical problems the exchange has wrestled with in recent months as it struggles to prevent business from migrating south to U.S. markets. About two-thirds of the trading in Nortel Networks (NT: news, msgs), Canada's largest company by stock market value, takes place on U.S. exchanges.

Trading in Nortel shares was halted for four hours on June 1 because of a computer problem. The Toronto exchange closed trading early on April 5 due to a software problem.

"There was a technical problem in the opening market process," Steve Kee, manager of media relations at the TSE, said of Tuesday's delayed opening.

Kee said that all orders placed prior to the open in Toronto were completed when the market began trading at 10:25 am Eastern time.

Trading on the CDNX was halted at 11:40 a.m. Eastern time and was expected to resume Wednesday.

About 66.6 million shares trade on the CDNX each day, valued at about US$66.8 million.

The TSE is home to companies such as Nortel, JDS Uniphase (JDSU: news, msgs), Seagram (VO: news, msgs) and Research in Motion (RIMM: news, msgs).

Canada's benchmark index, the TSE 300 Composite, rose 59.90 points Tuesday to 11,133.20. The index, powered by Nortel Networks, has outperformed the Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPQ: news, msgs) by 34 percent so far this year.

-- Martin Thompson (, August 22, 2000

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