Nasdaq platform speeds up Nigeria bourse-dealers

Fri Oct 4, 2013 11:55am EDT

* Dealers say new system is efficient and transparent

* Say switch to Nasdaq platform to increase trading volumes

LAGOS Oct 4 (Reuters) - The Nigeria Stock Exchange's adoption this week of the Nasdaq X-Stream trading platform has improved the speed of transactions, dealers said on Friday.

Monday's switch is expected to increase trading volumes and boost investment into Nigerian companies, they said. It has been used in four sessions so far as Tuesday was a bank holiday.

"The switch to Nasdaq is a welcome development... and it has increased the speed of executing trades," one dealer told Reuters.

Dealers can use the Nasdaq to trade cash, equities, bonds, exchange traded funds (ETFs) and, starting next year, derivatives, Ade Bajomo, the exchange's executive director of market operations and technology, said in a statement on Friday.

Dealers said the Nasdaq technology also makes it easier to monitor several markets at once on the same screen, such as equities, debt and ETFs, which it could not before.

"The new system needs a bit of getting used to... but it's efficient and transparent," another dealer said.

Other reforms the bourse has undergone include relaxing restrictions on price swings to 10 percent a day, from 5 percent previously, opening until 1430 Nigeria time (1330 GMT) into U.S. trading hours and allowing short selling, which is due to start next year.

Africa's second-biggest bourse is automated, but the old technology was slow and price rather than quote driven.

After roaring growth earlier last decade, a banking crisis, some of it caused by fraud, took around 60 percent off the value of stocks in 2008, plunging the exchange into crisis.

It has since been recovering, apart from a wobble in 2011, when it fell around 16 percent on writedowns of bad bank debts.

The overall index rose 35 percent in 2012, and has risen by around 30 percent this year. Analysts expect to the year higher.

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