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Stocks

Securities market delays opening by more than three hours

SINGAPORE -- Singapore Exchange will open its securities market today at 12:30 p.m., Singapore time, a delay of three-and-a-half hours. The purpose of the delay is to rectify data errors from end-of-day processing on Dec. 1, caused by a software defect, according to SGX. The market will remain open until 5 p.m., as usual.

     A malfunction occurred in an SGX accounting system that enables brokers to process the number of trades and positions at the end of each day. The delay is meant to give brokers time to correct any data errors from this process two days ago. SGX said in a statement that the software defect was caused by programming changes performed over the weekend that "has since been rectified."

     This is the second glitch SGX has experienced in the past month. On Nov. 5, trading in SGX's securities and derivatives market was halted by a power system failure that cut electricity to SGX's data center. The cause of the power failure remains unknown.

     The Monetary Authority of Singapore called this week's lapse "unacceptable." The central bank instructed the SGX Board and its CEO to conduct a thorough review. It also said it "will not hesitate to take supervisory actions against SGX if necessary."

     The two failures are additional blows to an exchange that is trying to regain investor confidence after the so-called "penny stock crash" last year, when the share prices of three small companies fell off a cliff. Almost 8 billion Singapore dollars ($6.13 billion) in valuation was wiped away in three days. Many retail investors fled the market, and trading volume declined.

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