Business

S'pore's stock market may break for lunch again

Lunch may be back on the menu for Singapore Exchange (SGX) traders. The midday break that was axed amid much ire in 2011 looks like it will be reinstated.

The proposal is that the market will break from noon to 1pm, as opposed to the old system, when trading stopped at 12.30pm and resumed at 2pm.

Trading will restart around the same time as key markets such as Hong Kong.

"At eight hours, Singapore has the longest trading hours in Asia. Most are in the five- to six-hour range," said Mr Nico Torchetti, SGX's senior vice-president and head of market services.

"Investors will still be able to place, amend or cancel orders during the break, and the SGX will publish an indicative equilibrium price based on orders received."

He noted that the break will retain significant overlap in trading hours with key markets in Asia, and also manage "gap risk", which is when prices open significantly lower or higher than their most recent closing, because of a major event in a key overseas market.

Companies can make use of the break to make announcements without calling for a trading halt, Mr Torchetti added.

Remisier Desmond Leong said: "Taking away the lunch break didn't result in higher trading volume. Instead, it made the market more lethargic and the remisiers very tired because they had to monitor the market all day, even during lunch.

"The brokerage can save costs because traders won't have to do rotations during lunch... It also gives us a chance to network."

Mr David Kuo, chief executive of The Motley Fool Singapore, said: "Many markets in Asia close for lunch, so why should Singapore stay open?"


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