ASX Closes Stock Market for Rest of Monday on Technical Problem

Australia’s stock exchange suspended trading for the rest of the day after a technical problem caused it to start more than an hour late, as investors braced for U.S. and Japan central bank meetings this week.

ASX Ltd. said in a statement Monday there will be no closing price auction that normally takes place at the end of the trading day. The stock-exchange operator said it will advise the process for determining closing prices, remaining session states and status of orders.

The ASX delayed the normal 10 a.m. local time equity market opening until 11:30 a.m. due to an issue relating to a component that allows it to manage individual stocks, Matthew Gibbs, a spokesman for the ASX in Sydney said earlier, adding that the company was working with its technology vendor Nasdaq Inc. to prevent a recurrence. It then halted trading in the afternoon before canceling it for the rest of the day.

The issue comes at an inconvenient time for investors and traders assessing their positions, with policy meetings scheduled at the Bank of Japan and the Federal Reserve this week, and Australia’s central bank set to release minutes from its most recent meeting on Tuesday. Australia’s equity market is worth $1.1 trillion, making it the sixth-largest in the Asia-Pacific region.

“I’ve never seen anything quite like this before,” Niv Dagan, the Melbourne-based executive director at Peak Asset Management LLC, said by phone. “It’s frustrating because they said they’d fixed it. We’d hope the ASX sorts things out by tomorrow to allow traders to exit positions before the Fed meeting. You’ve got traders and fund managers looking to change their portfolios before that, and unfortunately, they can’t do that.”

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