Jardine Matheson briefly loses $41 bln in market value after suspected 'fat finger'

SINGAPORE, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Shares in Singapore-listed conglomerate Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd briefly plunged 83 percent, or nearly $41 billion in market value, before recovering on Thursday in what traders said was likely a “fat finger” error.

Jardine Matheson shares opened at $10.99 versus Wednesday’s closing price of $66.47 after 167,500 shares changed hands at $10.99, traders said.

The stock then bounced back to trade at $66.8.

“Obviously, it looks like a fat finger trade and the seller is bound to have informed the exchange and requested it to cancel the trade. Given the huge price difference, normally such trades are cancelled,” said one local trader.

A spokeswoman for the Singapore Exchange said it was looking into the matter. Reuters was not able to identify the broker involved in the trade.

One market analyst said it would be difficult for the exchange to cancel the trade.

“The transaction was divided into 164 trades, suggesting there could be more than a hundred counterparts behind this trade,” said Margaret Yang, analyst at CMC Markets.

“This makes it an extremely difficult task for the stock exchange to recall or cancel it, and the seller will need to bear the losses,” she added.

Jardine Matheson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The group operates in a variety of businesses including motor vehicles, luxury hotels, property development, financial services and food retailing. (Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan and Anshuman Daga; editing by Darren Schuettler)