Huge Japan stock trade scrapped after possible 'fat finger' error

Hundreds of billions of dollars worth of stock orders in some of Japan’s biggest firms had to be cancelled Wednesday, officials said, possibly the result of a “fat finger” error.

Over-the-counter orders were placed for shares in 42 companies worth dozens of trillions of yen (hundreds of billions of dollars) in the morning, but were later cancelled, said an official at the Japan Securities Dealers Association.

According to an association official, the biggest order was for 1.96 billion Toyota shares, or about 57 percent of the automaker’s total outstanding stock — worth around $116 billion.

The trades were cancelled by an unnamed association member before being placed, he added.

Other cancelled orders included shares in Japan’s biggest bank Mitsubushi UFJ, brokerage giant Nomura Holdings and camera maker Canon.

“I’ve never heard of orders this big being cancelled before, although we haven’t put together specific reports on previously cancelled orders,” the JSDA official said.

A “fat finger” error is a term used when transactions are placed by a dealer after mis-typing trades.

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