Stock exchanges ignites after crazy day

The London Stock Exchange lurched back to life this afternoon after spending almost eight hours paralysed by a computer failure.

Trading, which should have started at 8am, was suspended by the computer glitch until 3.30pm, just an hour before the market was due to close.

The Stock Exchange announced it was extending trading until 6.30pm to help make up for the failure which hit the markets on one of the busiest days for private investors - the last day of the tax year.

The three-hour window of trading will see a flurry of deals as thousands of private investors reshuffle their share portfolios in a last ditch attempt to reduce their capital gains tax.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that merger talks may be underway with the rival Frankfurt exchange.

Europe's two largest financial centres are holding initial, "significant" talks in response to the proposed three-way union between the exchanges in Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam.

With trading finally underway, technology stock investors will finally know their fate following yesterday's massive swings on the US market which saw prices on the Nasdaq plummet to record lows only to recover in a violent upswing.

London suffered the ignominy of seeing Wall Street open its next trading session before investors here had chance to react to yesterday's gyrations across the Atlantic.

In New York, stocks were mixed in early on as investors sought some direction one day after Wall Street experienced its most volatile session in history.

The Nasdaq composite index, down more than 100 points after trading began, soon recovered to a loss of 32.71 at 4,116.18. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 20.79 at 11,185.63.

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