200 million dollar typing error
The Japanese government has ordered an inquiry after stock market
trading in a newly-listed company was thrown into chaos by a broker's
Shares in J-Com fell to below their issue price after the broker at
Mizuho Securities tried to sell 610,000 shares at 1 yen (0.47 pence;
0.8 cents) each.
They had meant to sell one share for 610,000 yen (£2,893; $5,065).
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said he did not want to see similar
errors and called for new safety measures.
Banking Minister Kaoru Yosano and cabinet secretary Shinzo Abe said
the finance ministry was working with Mizuho and the Tokyo Stock
Exchange (TSE) to draw up counter-measures to prevent similar future
Japan's Financial Services Agency, the country's financial watchdog,
has started an investigation into the mistake and how to prevent a
"In order to maintain the credibility of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, I
very strongly want this issue to be resolved quickly," Kaoru Yosano
Because of market rules, the mis-sold shares could not be bought for 1
yen, but may have been sold as low as 572,000 yen each.
The order represented 41 times the number of outstanding shares of
recruitment firm J-Com.
Mizuho said the brokerage had repurchased the majority of the phantom
shares it sold, but the error has so far caused it a loss of 27bn yen.
It almost matches the group's net profit of 28.1bn yen for the
financial year to March 2005.
One of the firm's directors, Seijiro Takeshita, told the BBC: "This
was initially a public offering listed issue on that day, meaning that
obviously, the buybacks were extremely difficult to do, and for that
reason it still is in a turbulent condition as we speak."
The episode prompted a fall of 3.4% in shares of Mizuho's parent
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(courtesy of Vicky Rotarova)