December 17, 2008 / 6:28 PM / 9 years ago

CANADA STOCKS-Tech glitch halts Toronto Stock Exchange

(Adds quotes, details; in U.S. dollars)

TORONTO, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the small-cap TSX Venture Exchange remained halted on Wednesday afternoon due to technical problems with the market’s data feeds.

Exchange operator TMX Group (X.TO) said it was experiencing a service interruption on its exchange data feeds that provide information to investors to help guide trading decisions, but did not provide a reason for the outage or timetable for resolving the problem.

In New York, shares of EnCana Corp (ECA.N), Canada’s No. 1 oil and gas producer, were lower, as were Canadian financials, while gold major Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.N) was sharply higher.

The Toronto market was halted to “ensure market integrity,” TMX Group said, noting there are no technical issues with the TSX Quantum trading engine.

“We will provide updates through the day,” said Carolyn Quick, director of communications at TMX Group.

For now, the halt is moving trades to other venues, said Bruce Latimer, a trader at Dundee Securities.

“It’s incredibly frustrating because we’ve got clients who have given us orders and we can’t trade the stocks, and we’re forced to send business or whatever names are interlisted down to the States, so we’re taking money out of the Canadian market and trading on the U.S. market,” Latimer said shortly after the opening bell.

And Canadian alternative trading systems, or ATSs, such as Alpha Trading Systems are open for business.

Shortly after 12:45 p.m. (1745 GMT), on Wall Street, EnCana was down 2.1 percent at $46.82 as crude fell $3 a barrel after OPEC announced a record supply cut that dealers said did not go far enough to counter slumping demand and prop up prices.

Nexen Inc NXY.N rose 1 percent to $18.81. Earlier, it said it would acquire a majority interest in its Long Lake oil sands project, buying an additional stake from joint-venture partner Opti Canada Inc OPC.TO for C$735 million. [ID:nBNG405486]

In financials, Manulife Financial (MFC.N) sank 3.2 percent to $17.08, while Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD.N) dropped 4.3 percent to $33.08, as optimism faded after the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented rate cut on Tuesday to near zero.

AbitibiBowater Inc ABH.N sank 20 percent to 39 cents after the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador said it will expropriate the company’s timber rights and hydroelectric assets when it closes its remaining newsprint mill there next year. [ID:nN16278059]

Barrick rose 4.8 percent to $36.58 as bullion rose. The company also lowered its estimates of damage to its North Mara Mine in Tanzania from an attack last week to about $7 million from $15 million

On Tuesday, the S&P/TSX composite index .GSPTSE closed up 262.28 points, or 3.1 percent, at 8,724.11 buoyed by news the Fed cut its target for overnight interest rates to a record low range of zero to 0.25 percent, and said it would do everything it can to chase away the economic gloom. (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; editing by Rob Wilson)

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