Technical problems disrupt Euronext trading in Amsterdam

The disruption of the stock exchange is exceptional, according to an online broker.

Online trading in options and futures at NYSE Euronext in Amsterdam was disrupted for hours on Monday morning due to unspecified "technical problems," the stock exchange said.

The problems may have been related to a transition to a new trading platform that was planned over the weekend, according to sources. Traders were informed about the migration on Friday in an email that told them it would happen on Saturday and should be completed before the opening of the markets on Monday.

"Whilst a significant amount of testing will have been undertaken prior to implementation, there is always a risk that an issue may occur in the live market environment," the email said.

The problems started at 9:00 a.m. local time, Rineke Reitsma, a spokeswoman for the Euronext stock exchange said. The systems were down until at least 1:15 p.m., according to the live status page of the trading system. Reitsma could not specify the nature of the technical problems but said that trading in options and futures at the AEX-index, the AMX-index and the Bel20-index was disrupted. "It is possible to trade other products," she added.

Euronext could have problems rolling back the migration if it wanted to do so, according to a trader at the website Amsterdamtrader.com. "It seems that Euronext's systems cannot roll back, and we may not open all day," said the trader, who asked that he not be fully identified.

It is quite common for a part of the Euronext stock exchange not to function properly, according to the trader. "It has always been that way, in terms of reliability they do it badly," said the trader in an email exchange. The possible damages for traders from the disruptions can be "gigantic," because they are unable to adjust their investments, he said.

Other industry insiders also think the outage is a problem. "This is a hindrance for our customers," said Harmen van der Schoor, spokesman for the Dutch online broker BinckBanck. "It is exceptional that the disruption is so extensive," he said, adding the problems are probably worse for professional brokers.

This is not the first time this year that Euronext trading has been disrupted for hours, Van der Schoor said. The last service disruption was on Feb. 20, when morning trading was anot possible for hours because of technical problems, he said. Van der Schoor however added that Euronext's uptime is "generally good."

"Disruptions happen sometimes unfortunately," Reitsma said. She was unable to predict when trading would resume and said that Euronext was working to fix the problems. Technical details about the problems will probably revealed later today or tomorrow in a so called "info flash" message, she added.

Loek covers all things tech for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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Loek Essers

IDG News Service
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