The Tokyo Stock Exchange halted all stock trading for Thursday’s session due to a system problem, a rare glitch that market participants said could undermine trust in the exchange.

After trading was halted for the morning session, the exchange said at midday that no trading would take place for the rest of the day. It said it didn’t know yet whether trading could resume Friday.

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A spokesman for the exchange’s operator, Japan Exchange Group Inc., 8697 -1.84% said it didn’t see signs of hacking. In August, a cyberattack from overseas caused four days of shutdowns at New Zealand’s stock market.

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The Tokyo problem, which involved the part of the system that distributes price information, was discovered at about 7 a.m. local time, two hours before the stock market normally opens.

“We apologize to investors and market participants for causing disruption,” the exchange said in a statement.

Ichiro Yamada, executive officer for securities investment at Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance, said the exchange should explain clearly what caused the trading halt.

“Otherwise, trust in the market could waver,” he said.

The Osaka stock exchange remained open and futures prices tied to the benchmark Nikkei stock index were up, suggesting traders didn’t foresee a major disruption that would damage stock prices overall. Mr. Yamada said a market halt could hurt short-term traders, but long-term investors such as Fukoku wouldn’t be affected by a few days of suspension.

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While the Tokyo Stock Exchange has had glitches over the years that affected some trading, a complete halt to stock trading is unusual.

In January 2006, the exchange shut down all trading for the final 20 minutes of the day after a surge of sell orders overwhelmed the system. In November 2005, a computer failure shut the exchange for most of a day.

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Takeo Kamai, head of execution services at CLSA in Tokyo, said if markets opened abruptly and computer trading programs issued a large volume of piled-up orders, it could cause temporary disruption.

“I just think there’s going to be pent-up demand,” he said, though he added it could be a one-off event.

Write to Suryatapa Bhattacharya at [email protected]

The post Tokyo Trading Is Halted by System Problem appeared first on WSJ.

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