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Australia Exchange Begins Intraday Stock Auction Trials

ASX Ltd., the operator of Australia’s biggest exchange, suspended the trial of intra-day stock auctions for some less actively-traded companies after trying it for a day.

The program, which was intended to last three months, has been suspended until further notice, according to an ASX statement on its website. Kristen Kaus and Matthew Gibbs, spokesmen for ASX, didn’t immediately return e-mails or phone calls for further information after normal business hours.

The auctions, intended to narrow spreads by bringing buyers and sellers together at a specific time, are part of several reforms ASX has made to its trading platform since Chi-X Australia Pty became its first competitor in 2011. Traditional exchanges worldwide are losing market share to so-called dark pools and other alternative trading venues.

Stock auctions use computer algorithms to match as many buyers and sellers of stocks at a specific time in the same way opening and closing prices are determined at the exchange. ASX had planned to host them from noon to 12:05 p.m., and 2 p.m. to 2:05 p.m. for about 40 companies including Aditya Birla Minerals Ltd. and Argo Investments Ltd.

“ASX will notify the market when the trial will resume,” the exchange operator said in the statement. ASX said before the trial it would consider expanding the program to all companies not included in the S&P/ASX 300 Index if successful.

The London Stock Exchange already holds intra-day auctions for less-traded stocks, hosting four a day.

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