Business|London Stock Exchange Delays Opening After Technical Problem
LONDON — Traders who have been frantically following market swerves, tied to the ongoing trade war and a broad economic slowdown, had an unexpected respite on Friday.
The London Stock Exchange did not move. For about an hour and 40 minutes.
One of the world’s oldest exchanges was unable to handle trades at its scheduled open time and administrators scrabbled to reassure investors. Trading should have started at 8 a.m. but it was not fully operational until 9:40 a.m. because of a “technical software issue,” the exchange said in a statement.
The company said it could not provide a comprehensive list of securities that were affected, but added that trading was delayed on two important indexes, the FTSE 100 and the FTSE 250, as well as some other securities. Shares in the London Stock Exchange Group were up 1.5 percent by late morning.
On its system notice board, the exchange offered advice that will be familiar — or perhaps maddening — to anyone who has suffered from I.T. issues before: log out and log back in again.
Problems like this are not unknown. Several exchanges, including London’s, had outages blamed on technical glitches last year.
Still, the timing was unfortunate. The London Stock Exchange group’s parent company is in the process of broadening its remit from stock exchanges to financial data. Two weeks ago, the London Stock Exchange Group agreed to buy Refinitiv, a provider of financial data, for about $27 billion, including debt. The acquisition is aimed at putting the group in competition with data giants like Bloomberg.
The trading problem on Friday also occurred during a turbulent week for global markets, which have whipsawed in reaction to the trade war between the United States and China. Stocks were up and down on Thursday as China sent conflicting signs about how it would respond to threats of tariffs from President Trump.
The prospect of weaker global growth has also weighed on stocks, prompting investors to flee toward safer government debt, pushing down yields on Treasuries.
After a day of nervous trading, markets in the United States closed with modest gains on Thursday and looked set to open higher on Friday.
Across Europe on Friday, markets looked relatively calm after the volatility of the day before. The FTSE 100 in London was up 0.7 percent by late morning. The Dax in Germany was up 0.8 percent midmorning and the CAC 40 in France was up about 0.9 percent.
In Asia, the Nikkei 225 closed slightly higher, up 0.06 percent, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 0.9 percent.
Amie Tsang is a general assignment business reporter based in London, where she has covered a variety of topics, including the gender pay gap, aviation and the London fatberg.@amietsang