Asian markets rise but trade limited by Tokyo glitch, holidays

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HONG KONG (AFP) – Asian markets got the new trading quarter off to a stuttering start Thursday with Tokyo hit by a computer glitch and several others closed for holidays, though there were healthy gains elsewhere in the region on hopes for a fresh US stimulus package.

Wall Street provided a strong lead with all three main indexes ending a torrid September with a rally, which was also helped by a forecast-beating reading on US jobs creation, which bodes well for government figures due Friday.

Buying and selling on Tokyo’s stock exchanges was halted at around 8:35 am (2335 GMT) owing to “glitches linked to the delivery of market information”, operator Japan Exchange Group said in a statement.

The precise nature of the glitch, the worst in 13 years, was not explained further, but it meant the country’s top indexes — the Nikkei 225 and the Topix — were unable to open at the start of the trading day. Trade was halted for the entire day.

The issue was also affecting trade on several other exchanges, including in Nagoya and Sapporo, though the Osaka exchange was functioning normally though.

There was also no trade in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul and Taipei owing to public holidays.

Still, Sydney and Singapore rallied more than one percent while there were also gains in Jakarta and Wellington as investors picked up the baton from US traders.

Support came from rising hopes that US lawmakers could finally hammer out a new virus rescue package for the world’s top economy after months of deadlock.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin have held a series of talks this week aimed at breaking the impasse and both have said they were “hopeful”.

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