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Brokers to freeze listing in late Dec. for Y2K problem.

TOKYO, Sept. 7 Kyodo

Securities companies plan to put a temporary freeze on the listing of stocks in the second half of December as a precaution against Y2K computer glitches, industry officials said Tuesday.

As trading in newly listed stocks usually increases sharply, the Y2K problem, if any, could damage investor trust in the securities industry, the officials said.

The Y2K problem stems from the computer-industry practice of representing years only by their last two digits -- for example, "99" for 1999. When the clocks change over to Jan. 1, 2000, computers could misread the year 2000 as 1900, causing faulty processing, such as failing to deliver stock certificates to buyers.

While around 10 companies usually go public in December, brokerage houses will seek the nod from this year's candidate companies to list them before or after the freeze period.

As stock investment from abroad tends to decrease in December, the planned freeze is expected to dampen trading sharply.

Major commercial banks also plan to put a freeze on sales of new products requiring changes in computer programs, such as new housing loans and Internet-based services, banking industry officials said.

The freeze will last three to five months from this fall.

Banks will take action as they have already reprogrammed their computer systems to cope with the Y2K problem.

Some banks will maintain the freeze for as long as five months because 2000 is a leap year, which may cause computer glitches.
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Comment:Brokers to freeze listing in late Dec. for Y2K problem.
Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Sep 13, 1999
Words:241
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