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Computer Problem Halts Australian Share Trading, ASX Says

Feb. 28 (Bloomberg) -- ASX Ltd., the operator of Australia’s biggest stock exchange, is investigating a technical fault with the message component of its trading platform that led to a suspension in trading today.

The company said the only system affected was ASX Trade, which is powered by Nasdaq OMX Group Inc.’s Genium INET platform and went into operation late last year. Trading was halted because confirmation messages for executed trades on some stocks weren’t being received, the Australian company said.

“No trades are going to be canceled as the problem is related to messaging and is not to do with the trading system capacity,” said spokesman Matthew Gibbs. “An investigation into the incident is now under way, I wouldn’t want to speculate what might have caused the problem.”

ASX, which is target of a A$7.6 billion ($7.7 billion) takeover bid from Singapore Exchange Ltd., had scheduled an increase to ASX Trade’s production throttle today to 4 megabits per second, ahead of an increase to 6 megabits per second on March 21.

ASX, which didn’t extend today’s session, said closing prices for the market will be taken from when trading was halted at 2:48 p.m.

Today, A$3.27 billion were traded on the ASX, 41 percent less than the daily average of the past 12 months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“We are working towards normal trading tomorrow but an announcement will be made as soon as possible,” Gibbs said by telephone from Sydney. He was unable to confirm if the halt will be lifted by the market open at 10 a.m. Sydney time tomorrow.

Nasdaq OMX also supplies Singapore Exchange with a Genium-based trading platform.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Jones in London at sjones35@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at ngentle2@bloomberg.net.

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