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London Stock Exchange delayed by 'technical issues'

Signage is seen outside the entrance of the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain. Aug 23, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
London Stock Exchange's markets did not open at its usual time of 8am on Friday. Photo: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

The opening of key markets on the London Stock Exchange were delayed by over an hour and a half on Friday, after technical issues hit the capital markets operator.

Trading of shares listed on the FTSE 100 (^FTSE) and FTSE 250 (^FTMC), the two biggest indices, were delayed by “a technical software issue.” Shares on the AIM growth market (^FTAI) are unaffected and trading freely.

The London Stock Exchange’s markets usually open at 8am UK time but trading on the two key markets was delayed Friday until 9.40am. The FTSE 100 opened up 0.8% at 7,124.03 and the FTSE 250 opened up 0.4% to 7,124.03.

A spokesperson for the London stock Exchange said: “London Stock Exchange experienced a technical software issue this morning that affected trading in certain securities, including FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 stocks. Following resolution of the issue regular trading in all securities commenced at 09.40.”

Market participants said the delay was frustrating but unlikely to pose investors many problems.

“It's not really too big of an issue as it's been a fairly quiet start anyway,” David Cheetham, chief market analyst at trading platform XTB, told Yahoo Finance UK.

“If the markets were heavily up or down then it would have caused a larger inconvenience. The biggest problem that it could present is reputational damage but unless there’s a repeat anytime soon this seems like a freak occurrence and is unlikely to have any lasting ramifications.”

The last time there was a significant delay to the opening of the exchange was in June 2018 when the market opened at 9am instead of 8am. That delay was due to a software “technical issue,” although the LSE gave no further details at the time too.

“Such outages used to happen all the time in the 90s and early 2000s (particularly in European exchanges),” Garry White, chief investment commentator at Charles Stanley, told Yahoo Finance UK.

White said the delay was “a pain” but unlikely to lead to any financial loss or problems for investors.

“A situation like this makes traders nervous especially for those who look to trade the FTSE during the first 30 minute of European session,” Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at ThinkMarkets, told Yahoo Finance UK.