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1997-08-06 13:19:25


Computer Glitch: Nikkei Falls 3% in One Day


A foretaste of things to come:

* * * * * * * *


TOKYO (Aug. 1) - The Tokyo Stock Exchange suffered its worst ever technical glitch Friday when its electronic trading system crashed, setting off a flurry of sales that sent the key index plunging to one of its biggest losses this year.

The trading system was out for the entire two-hour morning session, halting trade in more than 1,700 issues, 108 of them on the benchmark Nikkei 225 average.

With only the 150 floor-traded issues available, most market participants sat out the morning session. But when trading resumed after the lunch break, the shower of arbitrage-linked sales that emerged sent the Nikkei 225 down 527.05 points, or nearly three percent, to close at 19,804.38.

It was its first close below 20,000 since July 1l and its sixth-biggest point loss this year.

''The fall in futures accelerated after the release of glum domestic July car sales data,'' said Kenji Karikomi, deputy general manager at Daiwa Securities.

The bourse said it still had to figure out what went wrong.

''We would like to apologise to investors for the trouble,'' a TSE official told reporters. ''We have not yet figured out what was behind the system breakdown. We will investigate the case,'' he said.

He said there was no problem in the system hardware and that the breakdown may have been caused by a software malfunction.

REUTER 10:55 08-01-97

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