Outlook: ICI rogue trade was a mistake

WE OWE the stock exchange an apology. The rogue trade we commented on yesterday was not a rogue trade at all, we are now told, but a mistake. The buyer of 1,000 ICI shares at way above the ruling market price had not intended to buy ICI at all, but Cable & Wireless, and had mistakenly entered the wrong order. The moment the mistake was realised, the seller was only too happy to unwind the transaction. OK, so it was unfair of us to lambast the stock exchange in the way we did over this particular instance.

All the same, to the outside world, as well as most of those people who use the stock exchange daily, this looked like another rogue trade of the type we see occurring all the time. It's not just investors who are angered by what's happening; several listed companies have written to the exchange expressing concern.

The exchange insists that the clock cannot be turned back now and that all it needs is a little more time to iron out the new system's rough edges. Let's hope it's right.