LSE.L - London Stock Exchange Group plc

LSE - LSE Delayed Price. Currency in GBp
6,798.00
+20.00 (+0.30%)
At close: 6:45PM GMT
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Previous Close6,778.00
Open6,812.00
Bid6,784.00 x 0
Ask6,788.00 x 0
Day's Range6,708.00 - 6,812.00
52 Week Range1,656.00 - 7,922.00
Volume569,109
Avg. Volume886,665
Market Cap24B
Beta (3Y Monthly)0.56
PE Ratio (TTM)50.06
EPS (TTM)135.80
Earnings DateFeb 28, 2020 - Mar 3, 2020
Forward Dividend & Yield0.40 (0.59%)
Ex-Dividend Date2019-08-22
1y Target Est4,810.83
  • London Stock Exchange Considers Proposals for a Shorter Trading Day
    Bloomberg

    London Stock Exchange Considers Proposals for a Shorter Trading Day

    (Bloomberg) -- London Stock Exchange Group Plc started asking market participants if they want the bourse to be open fewer hours, signaling it’s open to an argument driven by changing trading patterns and calls for a better work-life balance.LSE called Tuesday for feedback on five proposals, ranging from keeping the current 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. trading day to shortening it by as much as 90 minutes. All of the options besides the status quo propose a later start time. Trading firms, asset managers, regulators, issuers and individual investors have until Jan. 31 to respond.Last month, the Association for Financial Markets in Europe, which represents trading firms and banks, and the Investment Association, the U.K. lobby group for asset managers, asked exchanges in the region to consider a shorter day. Potential benefits could include better gender diversity and an ability to retain people with family commitments, they said.However, there are also structural factors at play. LSE Chief Executive Officer David Schwimmer has pointed to the trend of investors waiting to closing auctions to buy and sell, rather than making trades across the course of the day. Some market watchers link that phenomenon to the growth of exchange-traded funds that rely on end-of-day prices.The LSE’s proposed options for shorter trading hours are:8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., London time8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.9 a.m. - 4 p.m.9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.It’s a far cry from two decades ago, when Europeans were lengthening their hours to straddle the U.S. and Asian trading days. The LSE said Tuesday that losing any of those overlapping hours may be a problem for traders based in those markets. It also said a coordinated approach by all the big European exchanges would probably be required for any change to be effective.Read More: in 1999, London, Frankfurt Extend Hours and Synchronize TradingHowever, LSE also noted the “broad support from the market” for a shorter trading day, and also said liquidity would be more concentrated in fewer hours.Galina Dimitrova, director for investment and capital markets at the Investment Association, welcomed LSE’s consultation.“We need to call time on the long-hours culture, which is detrimental to diversity and mental health, and inefficient for the markets,” she said.The LSE also asked participants more than 20 other questions. Besides the implications of shorter hours, the topics ranged from the liquidity of small-cap securities to the effect of MiFID II rules on research. It also sought opinions on whether the timing of its intraday auction could be changed to boost liquidity.To contact the reporters on this story: Viren Vaghela in London at vvaghela1@bloomberg.net;Silla Brush in London at sbrush@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ambereen Choudhury at achoudhury@bloomberg.net, Keith CampbellFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • How Much Would You Pay to Work Less?
    Bloomberg

    How Much Would You Pay to Work Less?

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Companies from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to Monsanto Co. have gotten serious about making work more flexible. Thanks to apps and gadgets, you can easily tap away from a living-room couch, the bleachers at your son’s soccer game or huddled over a coconut on your Christmas vacation. There’s a hidden cost to all this for women, though – and it isn’t just the prospect of being available around the clock.A recent working paper from the International Monetary Fund measured how much salary Japanese employees would be willing to forgo to enjoy a healthier work-life balance. It found that earners making 3 million yen ($27,600) a year would give up nearly half of their income to avoid putting in 45 hours or more of overtime per month. That outcome was roughly consistent with higher-wage workers, too.The most obvious takeaway would be that companies should do everything they can to keep hours reasonable. It doesn’t take an MBA to see that lower salaries would improve the bottom line, with the added upside of happier and possibly more productive workers. There’s an important caveat, however: Women are much more eager than men to give up money for time. That mostly comes down to deeper feelings of guilt, according to the paper, not just for child-rearing but also general household responsibilities such as cooking and caring for aging parents.While this conclusion isn’t revolutionary, the policy implications are stark. For every woman who is willing to accept less money for more flexibility, there’s someone out there inclined to put in that 14-hour day at a desk. This suggests that companies eager to give women more choice by offering a four-day week or shorter hours, may wind up inadvertently deepening gender pay gaps. The better way to protect work-life balance, then, is to make sure all employees – male, female, young, old, parents and the childless – are spending fewer, more productive hours on the clock. There’s ample research to show that working more doesn’t necessarily produce better results. In fact, productivity drops off when employees work more than 50 hours a week, according to a Stanford University study. Whether you work 70 hours or 56 hours, output is roughly the same.Despite Japan’s reputation for burning the midnight oil, Americans work even more: 1,786 hours per year compared with 1,680, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Germany works the fewest at 1,363. Yet Germany is the most productive of the three, as measured by gross domestic product per hour, followed by Japan, then the U.S.The good news is that employers are starting to respond. In August, Microsoft Corp. tested out a four-day work week in its Japan locations. Productivity rose 40% from a year earlier. One local-government office in downtown Tokyo resorted to shutting off the lights at 7 p.m. to force people to go home. And in Europe, financial industry groups are pressing the London Stock Exchange to cut its trading day by 90 minutes.All this awareness is a good thing; employers and policymakers just need to recognize the pitfalls. The most troubling element of the IMF paper may have been women’s willingness to make less in a country where the pay gap is already so wide. The median income for Japanese men is 24.5% higher than for men and women. That compares with an average of 13.5% in the OECD and 18.2% in the U.S. Flexible working can mean a lot of things: telecommuting, shorter work weeks, or even the ability to set a fluid schedule, so long as you hit a certain number of hours. These options benefit men and women alike. I can’t think of a single parent who doesn’t appreciate the ability to stay on top of emails while sitting in the waiting room at the pediatrician.But what if all that multitasking only adds hours and stress? At a previous job, when my son was a baby, I was able to leave the office early to put him to bed. Yet I recall many nights spent staring into the white halo of my iPhone, crafting emails with one finger, and nursing him in the crook of my spare arm. I probably would have been willing to give up a fair chunk of salary to guiltlessly complete that work in the morning – and could have finished it quicker, to boot. Many women are wary of flexible schedules for this precise reason: They know they’ll end up working for free. Even companies with the best intentions will have difficulty accounting for an evolving definition of what constitutes time spent on the job.That’s why flexible HR policies are meaningless if culture doesn’t evolve more quickly. Japanese employees get some of the most generous family-leave packages in the world, yet few fathers take advantage of them, as my colleague Anjani Trivedi has noted. People there are literally working themselves to death with 100-hour weeks.Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of Panasonic Corp. and business-management guru, said you should think of your career as a “three-day chore” — that is, approach simple tasks with the sincerity of a lifelong occupation. It’s about time we bring as much commitment to protecting our well-being. To contact the author of this story: Rachel Rosenthal at rrosenthal21@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Patrick McDowell at pmcdowell10@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Rachel Rosenthal is an editor with Bloomberg Opinion. Previously, she was a markets reporter and editor at the Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong. For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Reuters

    UPDATE 2-EU watchdog calls for single feed for stock prices across region

    The European Union's securities watchdog said on Thursday that stock exchanges should be forced to contribute prices to a pan-European feed for trades to make it easier for investors to compare prices on different platforms. Market users like asset managers and banks should also be forced to contribute to funding costs for the feed, or ticker tape, the European Securities and Markets Authority said.

  • Reuters

    EU watchdog calls for regional share price ticker tape

    The European Union's securities watchdog said on Thursday that stock exchanges should be forced to contribute prices to a pan-European ticker tape to unify fragmented markets. The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) said that EU securities rules known as MiFID II have failed to cut the cost of stock market data for users like banks and asset managers. "Moreover, as no consolidated tape has materialised, ESMA recommends the establishment of a European Union (EU) wide real-time consolidated tape for equity instruments," ESMA said in a statement.

  • London Startup Aims to Bring Bond Sales Closer to Automation
    Bloomberg

    London Startup Aims to Bring Bond Sales Closer to Automation

    (Bloomberg) -- A fintech venture backed by some of the largest U.K. law firms and London Stock Exchange Group Plc has launched a product to digitize key parts of an archaic process of selling new bonds.The system, developed by London-based Nivaura, brings negotiation of the fine print in bond terms online so that legal documents can be drafted and signed digitally, according to a statement seen by Bloomberg News. It aims to speed up bond sales and potentially do away with laborious processes of submitting data by hand at banks, law firms and clearing houses.Nivaura raised $20 million in seed funding earlier this year from investors including LSEG, Allen & Overy, Linklaters, Banco Santander SA and Aegon NV. It also created the first regulated cryptocurrency bond in 2017.Nivaura’s system will start by targeting private placement notes issued from medium-term note programs - a market that sees almost $500 billion of issuance a year, according to the firm. It will later expand the platform to include syndicated transactions.A competing platform, Origin, set up by former Nomura Holdings Inc. traders Raja Palaniappan and Robert Taylor, is also digitizing legal contracts and connecting borrowers and dealers in debt markets. Luxembourg Stock Exchange has acquired a 10% stake in Origin, the company said Wednesday. Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, provides services that facilitate bond ordering and distributes information on new debt offerings.(Updates with Luxembourg Stock Exchange’s acquisition of Origin stake in fifth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Katie Linsell in London at klinsell@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Vivianne Rodrigues at vrodrigues3@bloomberg.net, Chris VellacottFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Reuters

    EU governments back rules to raise burden on clearing houses in case of failure

    European Union governments agreed on Wednesday new rules for handling failures of clearing houses, an EU statement said, in a move that would increase the burden on these firms to limit losses that might rock the financial system. The deal concerns 16 EU-based clearing houses which clear a significant proportion of the 640 trillion euros ($705 trillion)of derivatives traded through central counterparts, the EU said. The rules, which need to be approved by the European Parliament, "will help to address interconnectedness and contagion risks, while encouraging less risky behaviour by clearing houses and other market participants," Finland's Finance Minister Mika Lintila said.

  • Bloomberg

    What You Won’t Hear About the London Bridge Attacks

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- There’s an important debate to be had after Friday’s terrorist attack on London Bridge: At what point is it safe to release a prisoner convicted of terrorism back into the public? There’s no chance of that debate taking place now in the final throes of a bitterly contested U.K. general election campaign. Instead there’s an unseemly blame game.A known terrorist was released from prison having served less than half his sentence, and went on a killing rampage at a conference dedicated to rehabilitating criminals. He murdered two young graduates who’d devoted their career to that cause. No wonder there’s shock and anger. No wonder too that, 10 days before the national vote, neither the Conservative nor Labour parties want to accept the responsibility.Usman Khan’s rampage was a grim echo of the 2017 terrorist attacks during the last election, in which 22 people were killed at a pop concert in Manchester and eight people were later murdered in the London Bridge area. After the Manchester incident, campaigning was suspended as the nation mourned. Prime Minister Theresa May gave a dignified speech that sought to unite the country rather than pursue political advantage.Four days later, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn took the gloves off. He infuriated Conservatives by linking the attacks to “wars our government has supported or fought in other countries.” And he blamed austerity for understaffed hospital emergency wards and shortages in police numbers.Though the Tories are considered the stronger party on law and order, his criticism damaged May. She led a government that had been in power for seven years, and which had cut public funding, and as a former home secretary she’d been responsible for security. By the time the 2017 London Bridge attack happened, less than a week before that year’s vote, May’s “strong and stable” image was in tatters.This time there was no dignified pause. After Friday’s attack, May’s successor Boris Johnson immediately called for tougher sentencing and pinned Khan’s release from prison on a Labour-era policy, even as the family of one of Friday’s victims, Jack Merritt, lambasted the prime minister for exploiting the 25-year-old’s death for political gain.Corbyn largely reprised his 2017 line. In a defense policy speech ahead of this week’s NATO summit, he noted that “Britain’s repeated military interventions in North Africa and the wider Middle East, including Afghanistan, have exacerbated rather than resolved the problems.” Mindful of the U.S. president’s visit to the U.K. this week, Corbyn threw in a warning that Britain risks being “tied to Donald Trump’s coat-tails” under Johnson.The Labour leader was careful to note that “the blame lies with the terrorists, their funders and recruiters”; but he surely hoped that he’d grab the attention of voters by reminding them of Britain’s foreign policies under previous governments — policies he’d opposed. The problem for Corbyn is that his responses to terrorism often make voters, and Britain’s allies, nervous about his commitment to security.The truth about Khan is more complicated than either Johnson or Corbyn want to acknowledge. At 19, he was part of a militant Salafi jihadi organization in blue-collar Stoke-on-Trent. He linked up with other jihadi groups and caught the attention of the security services. He was jailed in 2012 for planning acts of terrorism against the London Stock Exchange and other British locations, and for planning a training camp in Kashmir.His original sentence under the U.K.’s controversial “Imprisonment for Public Protection” guidelines would have kept him incarcerated until a Parole Board was satisfied he posed no threat. Thousands of low-level criminals were held under the same rules with little chance of release or rehabilitation. The sentencing policy was declared illegal by the European Court of Human Rights in 2012 and changed by the Conservative government.In 2013, an appeal court converted Khan’s sentence to a 16-year “extended sentence.” But under a 2008 Labour government policy meant to reduce prison overpopulation, offenders under extended jail terms were released automatically halfway through their sentences. While that law was changed by the Tories in 2012 to require inmates to serve two-thirds of the sentence and to win Parole Board approval for release, Khan’s sentencing fell under the previous policy.There are surely lessons here. Khan’s original arrest and conviction shows the importance of well-funded intelligence and police work; his subsequent attack shows that proper parole reviews are vital — although, as the appeal decision demonstrated, they can never be fail-safe. Johnson is right to order a review of others with similar convictions who’ve been released without Parole Board approval. And yet the idea that tougher sentencing and more policing is all that’s needed is dangerously simplistic.It’s a cruel irony that Khan’s rampage took place at a conference organized by a Cambridge University program for prison-based education. Such programs can help redress the widespread problem of re-offending. Indeed, two of those who risked their lives to tackle Khan were convicted offenders, one of whom who now works for prison reform. And yet, as Jack Merritt’s father fears, Johnson’s response is likely to cool support for such programs.The narrow argument around sentencing guidelines also misses the bigger picture of a criminal justice system that has suffered from resource shortfalls and policy failures. And it avoids the thornier subject of how best to counter radicalization and extremism, both in prisons and in society. That requires a broader suite of policies — from community-based prevention programs, to intelligence gathering to better policing — than Johnson’s framing of the problem acknowledges and far better government leadership.The reaction to Friday’s attack captured the dilemma facing many voters about the two party leaders. If the risk with Johnson is that he’ll say anything to get elected, the worry about Corbyn is that he means exactly what he says. One has done nothing to earn voters’ trust; the other nothing to win their confidence.These are some of the thorniest security issues facing any British government. At the business end of an election campaign, don’t expect a real discussion of any of it.To contact the author of this story: Therese Raphael at traphael4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Therese Raphael writes editorials on European politics and economics for Bloomberg Opinion. She was editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal Europe.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Urbem's 'Wonderful Business' Series: FactSet Research Systems
    GuruFocus.com

    Urbem's 'Wonderful Business' Series: FactSet Research Systems

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  • Financial Times

    London Bridge attack exposes flaws in UK terror oversight

    Usman Khan left prison last December after serving seven years for his involvement in a plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange and set up a military training camp in Pakistan. Only 11 months later, still wearing an electronic tag, he murdered two people and injured three others before being shot dead by police — raising serious questions about offender management and rehabilitation of terrorists.

  • Reuters

    UPDATE 1-London Stock Exchange shareholders bless $27 billion Refinitiv deal

    London Stock Exchange shareholders overwhelmingly backed the exchange's $27 billion takeover of data and analytics company Refinitiv on Tuesday, a deal designed to broaden LSE's trading business and make it a major distributor of market data. LSE Chairman Don Robert told a shareholders meeting in London that the exchange's board was unanimous in recommending the Refinitiv deal because it was a "compelling opportunity" in the best interests of shareholders and the company. One shareholder asked whether the LSE was simply bulking up to avoid becoming a future takeover target.

  • London Stock Exchange shareholders bless $27 billion Refinitiv deal
    Reuters

    London Stock Exchange shareholders bless $27 billion Refinitiv deal

    London Stock Exchange shareholders overwhelmingly backed the exchange's $27 billion takeover of data and analytics company Refinitiv on Tuesday, a deal designed to broaden LSE's trading business and make it a major distributor of market data. LSE Chairman Don Robert told a shareholders meeting in London that the exchange's board was unanimous in recommending the Refinitiv deal because it was a "compelling opportunity" in the best interests of shareholders and the company. One shareholder asked whether the LSE was simply bulking up to avoid becoming a future takeover target.

  • Bloomberg

    Corbyn’s U.K. Spending Blitz Wins Backing From Economists

    (Bloomberg) -- Explore what’s moving the global economy in the new season of the Stephanomics podcast. Subscribe via Apple Podcast, Spotify or Pocket Cast.Former Bank of England policy maker Danny Blanchflower and more than 160 other economists and academics have backed the Labour party’s election promises as the best way to help the U.K. economy.In a letter published in the Financial Times, the economists said productivity growth has all but stagnated over the past decade and more public investment is needed, particularly into green technology aimed at energy, transport, housing, industry and farming.The economists also said that more needs to be done to improve public services and note that low interest rates mean it’s “basic economic sense for the government to borrow for this, spreading the cost over the generations who will benefit from the assets.”Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s plans include an extra 83 billion pounds ($108 billion) of day-to-day spending and 55 billion pounds more for investment. Some have questioned how he would fund the program, which amounts to about six pounds of new spending for every one pledged by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives.There’s a history of economists writing open letters in support of, or to criticize, an economic policy, stretching back to the early years of Margaret Thatcher’s premiership. In 1981, 364 economists including Mervyn King wrote a letter in the Times newspaper in protest the government’s fiscal tightening in the midst of a recession. In 2016, a number of former BOE policy makers were among almost 200 economists who signed a letter against a U.K. exit from the European Union.Many of the signatories backing Corbyn’s plans are left-leaning, and the group includes Simon Wren-Lewis, emeritus professor of economics at Oxford, and Meghnad Desai, emeritus professor of economics at the LSE.The group sees a need to boost wages and productivity, and says a higher minimum wage would help, as would tougher regulation of the so-called gig economy.“As economists, and people who work in various fields of economic policy, we have looked closely at the economic prospectuses of the political parties,” the economists said in the letter. “It seems clear to us that the Labour party has not only understood the deep problems we face, but has devised serious proposals for dealing with them.”To contact the reporter on this story: Fergal O'Brien in Zurich at fobrien@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net, Andrew Atkinson, Stuart BiggsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • European Tech Is a Trade-War Haven for U.S. and Asian Investors
    Bloomberg

    European Tech Is a Trade-War Haven for U.S. and Asian Investors

    (Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. U.S. and Asian investors are piling more cash into Europe’s tech sector, drawn by a growing number of successful startups and its relatively neutral status as tensions between Washington and Beijing simmer.More than one in five funding rounds raised in Europe involved a U.S. or Asian investor, up from one in 10 in 2015, London-based venture capital firm Atomico said in a report published Thursday.“Europe potentially can become a beneficiary as the middle ground between the two regions,” said Tom Wehmeier, Atomico’s head of research, who wrote the report with law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP and the organization behind the Slush technology conference in Helsinki. A driving factor for Asian investment activity in Europe is “the perception that the U.S. has been a closed market for them.”While the total invested in Europe is still much smaller than Asia and the U.S., it’s growing while they stagnate or shrink, the report shows. European tech companies are set to raise a record $34.3 billion in 2019, up from $24.6 billion last year. By contrast, investments in the U.S. are slightly down from $118 billion last year, while dropping off sharply in Asia to $62.5 billion after a steep increase in recent years.North American venture capital funds poured almost $10 billion into Europe this year, up from $5.8 billion in 2018, while Asian funds have invested $4 billion, up from $1.7 billion, according to the report, which estimated full-year figures based on the first nine months of the year.The report is based on data from organizations including the London Stock Exchange and the European Investment Fund, as well as a survey of founders, investors and developers.The growing influx of foreign capital comes as the U.S. and China have been locked in an ongoing trade dispute for the past year, with tariffs roiling financial markets. The world’s two largest economies are seeking to close a preliminary agreement to end their trade war, but negotiations remain tough.The “unprecedented level of interest” in European tech is also driven by the strength of the companies in the region, Wehmeier said. He pointed to the 99 venture-backed firms in Europe now valued at more than $1 billion, up from 22 five years ago.Read more about the trade war here.Still, the cash isn’t necessarily being distributed equitably. A lack of diversity persists in Europe’s tech sector. In 2019, 92% of all funding went to all-male teams in Europe, and funding for all-women teams is declining, according to the report. About 84% of the founders surveyed identified as white, while less than 1% said they were black, African or Caribbean.Atomico had flagged the problem of diversity in European startups a year ago when it found that about half of women in a survey said they’d experienced discrimination. A bright spot has been quantum computing where 23% of European companies in the field had a mixed gender or woman-led founding team.To contact the reporter on this story: Natalia Drozdiak in Brussels at ndrozdiak1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at gturner35@bloomberg.net, Amy Thomson, Nate LanxonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Moody's

    London Stock Exchange Group plc -- Moody's continues to review for downgrade London Stock Exchange Group plc's long-term ratings

    Moody's Investors Service (Moody's) today said it is continuing to review for downgrade the long-term ratings of London Stock Exchange Group plc (LSEG, A3 review for downgrade) and London Stock Exchange plc (LSE, A3 review for downgrade). Moody's said its review for downgrade was initiated on 2 August 2019, following LSEG's announcement that it had agreed to acquire for $27 billion Refinitiv from Refinitiv Holdings Ltd. (affiliated with Refinitiv US Holdings Inc., B3 review for upgrade).

  • Moody's

    Refinitiv US Holdings Inc. -- Moody's announces completion of a periodic review of ratings of Refinitiv US Holdings Inc.

    Announcement of Periodic Review: Moody's announces completion of a periodic review of ratings of Refinitiv US Holdings Inc. New York, November 11, 2019 -- Moody's Investors Service ("Moody's") has completed a periodic review of the ratings of Refinitiv US Holdings Inc. and other ratings that are associated with the same analytical unit. The review was conducted through a portfolio review in which Moody's reassessed the appropriateness of the ratings in the context of the relevant principal methodology(ies), recent developments, and a comparison of the financial and operating profile to similarly rated peers.

  • Bloomberg

    A Shorter Day for Stock Market Traders? It's a Nice Dream

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- A new call to shorten European stock-market trading hours by an hour in the morning and a half hour in the afternoon is hard to fathom.The Association for Financial Markets in Europe and the Investment Association want to do this for the noblest of reasons: offering a better quality of life to traders and opening the door to more female participation in the markets workforce. Sadly, I can’t see it changing working patterns much.It’s important to stress too that the start of the day and the end of the day are two very different things for traders in terms of their importance. A later start — which used to happen at the London Stock Exchange — is neither here nor there. The opening auction is an insignificant part of daily trading volume. A stockbroker’s day begins well before the opening bell anyway with a plethora of meetings, calls and frantically written sales and trading notes. Putting back the official start wouldn’t change that, even if it made things a little less frenetic.Messing with the closing auction would be more perilous. About one-third of daily trading volume bunches into those final minutes, with exchange-traded funds looking to set their hedging on the closing price. Asset managers’ trading desks also increasingly have to wait to complete their orders at the close of play because they’re determined by the day’s trading volumes. An earlier close might make it more difficult to complete orders efficiently.Neither would shortening the trading day by 90 minutes encourage U.S. and Asian trading in European equities, which have hardly had a great run. The EuroStoxx 50 is still below its 2015 highs, whereas the S&P500 has risen about 50% on a similar time-frame. Having a proper overlap with New York trading hours is vital.True, the cultural shift signified by moving away from the long-hours ethos can’t be dismissed, and it could even improve the markets’ functioning by allowing longer digestion of corporate news. But the benefits seems marginal. Financial markets are about much more than stock exchanges. Much activity happens outside of the official marketplace, especially in derivatives.Would having less time lead to greater efficiency? Maybe, though it’s not certain when there are so many other tasks to swallow up that notional extra time.The unhappy reality is that shorter trading hours are unlikely to change worker conditions or make employment at an equity broker or exchange much more conducive to people with family commitments. The open-all-hours mantra — from Hong Kong to London to New York and back again — has long prevailed in financial markets.The trend in equity markets is toward fewer humans anyway, with technology and electronic trading increasingly dominant. It seems odd, therefore, to shorten the availability of people when it might be more logical to fight back by improving and widening the services they offer. To contact the author of this story: Marcus Ashworth at mashworth4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Marcus Ashworth is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering European markets. He spent three decades in the banking industry, most recently as chief markets strategist at Haitong Securities in London.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Reuters

    Brexit "hubs" face EU markets watchdog checks in 2020

    New European Union hubs opened by British-based financial firms to avoid Brexit disruption will be scrutinised next year by the bloc's markets watchdog to check whether they are gaming licensing requirements. This signals how the bloc will keep up pressure on new hubs to meet licence terms, even if Britain secures a divorce settlement with a standstill transition period to the end of 2020 after the deadline for Brexit.