Tokyo Stock Exchange to test temporary capacity-boosting measure

TOKYO: Tokyo Stock Exchange will test capacity-boosting measures over the weekend after surging trading volumes forced the bourse to shorten trading sessions, an official said Friday. 

Unable to process a flood of sell orders Wednesday triggered by an unfolding scandal at an Internet startup, Asia's biggest bourse halted trading 20 minutes early, the first time the market stopped trading because of a surge in volume. 

Fearing a similar disaster Thursday, the exchange delayed the start of the afternoon session by 30 minutes. Orders on that day came close to the bourse's trading capacity of 4 million transactions. 

The exchange, which plans to boost its capacity to 5 million transactions on Jan. 30, will carry out tests on that system over the weekend, spokesman Yoshihiro Sano said. 

Public broadcaster NHK reported that the bourse may also introduce a emergency capacity-boosting measure ahead of Jan 30. Sano was unable to confirm that report. 

TSE President Taizo Nishimuro has said the bourse intends to boost its capacity to some 8 million by the end of the year. 

The troubles at the Tokyo exchange has been an embarassment for a country that prides itself on orderliness and its technological prowess. 

The troubles could also drive away investors just as they have been drawn back to Japan amid signs of a long-awaited economic recovery. 

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which hit five-year highs last week after surging 40 percent last year, plunged a total of nearly 6 percent on Tuesday and Wednesday before bounging back 2.31 percent on Thursday to 15,696.28 points. 

The recent chaos in Tokyo follows a high-profile investigation into Livedoor Co., a company that offers various Web-related services.  

Authorities raided Livedoor's offices late Monday on suspicion that the company violated securities laws in giving false information to inflate stock prices, and media reports say the company allegedly hid losses. - AP

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