The London Stock Exchange is once again grappling with technical problems on a day when its shares have taken a hammering on fears that Borse Dubai may be forced to dump its 20% stake in the UK market.
The LSE was the biggest faller in the FTSE 100 as investors scrambled for the exit following warnings from Dubai that the country was struggling to make repayments on billions of dollars of debt. This has led to speculation that the Borse Dubai may be forced to jettison its 20% holding in the LSE, picked up during the complex negotiations over the Nasdaq OMX merger in 2007.
Shares in the London bourse fell by 36.5 pence to 778 pence, escalating a decline that began on Wednesday when the exchange operator reported a fall in profits amid strong competition in its cash equities business.
To compound its problems, trading on the Exchange was suspended at 10.33am because of technical hitches, with all orders put into an auction.
In a statement posted on its Website, the LSE says: "All quote driven securities should be considered indicative at this time. The Exchange continues to investigate the root cause and will publish an update once further information is available."
The latest stoppage comes just weeks after the LSE was forced to suspend trading in about 300 stocks because of a server malfunction.
Update The LSE has updated the market on the problems and says trading will resume at 2pm: "For order-driven securities, an auction call period will commence at 13:30, with uncrossing scheduled for 14:00. For quote-driven securities market-maker prices will be considered firm as of 14:00.
In a later statement, the LSE reported that what started as limited client connectivity issues spread more widely affecting numerous client connections to UK securities.
Commenting on the disruption, Xavier Rolet, CEO of the London Stock Exchange, said: "We regret the inconvenience that today's disruption to trading has caused for our clients. Having resolved the immediate issue, we are working hard to ensure this doesn't happen again ahead of switching to MillenniumIT's trading platform next year."