TOKYO, Apr 17 (Reuters) The Tokyo Stock Exchange may return to normal trading hours as early as April 24, three months after a surge of orders strained its computer systems and forced it into an unprecedented early closure, a source close to the bourse said on Monday.
The world's second-largest bourse has said it aims to return to regular hours before May after making sure its systems can cope with trading volumes.
The bourse has delayed the start of afternoon trade by 30 minutes to 1 p.m. (0400 GMT) since Jan. 19, the day after a flood of sell orders sparked by an investigation into Internet firm Livedoor Co.
strained the exchange's systems almost to the limit and forced it to close early for the first time in its history.
The emergency closure followed a series of other system troubles at the exchange in previous months that had damaged its credibility among investors.
A TSE spokesman said it was possible a formal decision on when the bourse would return to normal hours could come as early as this week, but added it would be up to TSE President Taizo Nishimuro to decide after the bourse examines orders and trade data this week.
Japanese newspapers reported over the weekend that the bourse could return to normal trading hours on April 24.
The Nihon Keizai business daily added that the exchange could delay the resumption of normal hours until May 8, after a string of public holidays.
The exchange trades between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. (0000 GMT and 0200 GMT), with the normal afternoon session running from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. (0330 GMT and 0600 GMT).
The bourse can handle 9 million orders and 5 million trades a day and plans to boost its order-handling capacity to 12 million orders and trade-processing capacity to 7 million a day by the end of May.
REUTERS CS ND1232