Tokyo bourse to launch high-speed trading system

AP News
Posted: Jan 03, 2010 5:26 AM

The Tokyo Stock Exchange will launch a new high-speed trading system Monday, scrapping an antiquated, glitch-prone platform for one that aims to compete with major global rivals.

The world's second-largest bourse after the New York Stock Exchange spent the weekend running final tests of its "Arrowhead" system, which can process trades in five milliseconds. That is 600 times faster than the two to three-seconds required until now, and roughly on par with its counterparts in New York and London.

The TSE is banking on the system's faster trading speeds and higher reliability to bolster its prospects ahead of plans to go public later this year.

With the upgrade, the exchange hopes to lure traders who use automated computer programs to make rapid and frequent transactions. Algorithmic trading, commonly used by institutional investors like pension funds, accounts for the majority of equity trading in the U.S. and Europe but has been slow to catch on in Asia.

The facelift should also dissipate worries about the TSE's reliability after a series of embarrassing blunders.

Last month, a court ordered the TSE to pay 10.7 billion yen ($121 million) in damages to Mizuho Securities Co. Ltd. over massive losses caused by a computer error in a botched 2005 transaction.

In 2006, a huge sell-off of Internet company Livedoor Co. overloaded the TSE, forcing it to shorten its trading day by 30 minutes for three months.

The new system can handle 46.8 million orders a day, an increase of almost 70 percent, the TSE said. When needed, it can expand capacity within a week.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 stock index, which gained 19 percent in 2009, fell 0.9 percent to 10,546.44 on Wednesday before the New Year holiday.

Monday marks the first trading day of 2010.