A mystery technical glitch has shut down the Australian stock market.
The Australian Securities Exchange released a statement shortly before 11am AEDT but major shares appeared to have stopped trading 40 minutes earlier.
‘The ASX equity market is currently paused and there is no trading while we investigate market data issues,’ it tweeted.
‘ASX apologises for the disruption and is working to rectify the issue as soon as possible.’
The ASX is responsible for assets worth $1.7trillion, the world’s third biggest pool of investment funds.
The error still hadn’t been fixed after three hours when traders in Sydney were on their lunch break.
One concerned Twitter user asked if there was malice directed at the ASX.
‘Just admit it. You’ve been hacked,’ the message said.
The technical fault appeared to have happened about 40 minutes before the ASX announcement, with mining giant BHP’s shares frozen at $36.49 at 10.23am, just 23 minutes after the share market opened on Monday morning.
Commonwealth Bank shares halted at $74.49 a minute later, at 10.24am.
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CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said an upsurge in interest from new share market investors was putting pressure on global stock markets.
‘One of the challenges the whole investing world is facing is a huge surge in volumes,’ he told Daily Mail Australia on Monday.
‘We’re hearing accounts that record number of accounts have been opened, record numbers of trades have been processed and it’s not just here in Australia, it’s around the world and that’s stressing market infrastructure everywhere.’
Before trade was halted, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 1.2 per cent following a strong lead from Wall Street in the United States, where the Nasdaq tech stocks index rose 1.02 per cent as the broader S&P500 climbed 1.36 per cent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 1.37 per cent.
‘We had seen positive performances from European and US shares on Friday night so we were looking at a pretty good start,’ Mr McCarthy said.
Investors also backed Australia joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a trade agreement involving 15 nations in Asia and the Pacific.
The Australian share market has surged by 42 per cent since bottoming out on March 23.
The stock market crashes of 1987 and 2008 took a decade to recover from but with interest rates at a record of just 0.1 per cent, investors are piling back into shares.
‘It does to some extent reflect the fact that the market cycle has sped up along with the media cycle and the information that’s now available to individual investors,’ Mr McCarthy said.
‘The speed of trading and the speed of the market cycle has lifted to match that increase in speed that we’ve seen in information.’
Young millennials with trading apps are also driving a resurgent in the share market, despite the coronavirus recession.
‘There’s a new generation coming through that are very comfortable with technology, in particular using their phone to do almost everything in life,’ Mr McCarthy said.