LSE trading share falls as rivals up ante

DAILY trading levels on the London Stock Exchange have dipped by more than a third over the past year, as competition continues to hot up between the traditional bourse and its upstart rivals.

Average daily value traded in UK equities on the LSE fell 35 per cent to £4.6bn over the 11 months to the end of February, the exchange said yesterday in a pre-close update.

The LSE said trading in January and February had been stronger than the year to date average – at £4.9bn and £5.1bn respectively – but that levels are expected to have fallen back again in March.

The drop comes amid fierce competition in the trading space between long-established exchanges like the LSE and their newer rivals, such as multilateral trading facilities Chi-X and BATS, which proliferated after a European regulatory ruling opened up the market in 2007.

Chief executive Xavier Rolet said the completion of the exchange’s recent purchase of smaller counterpart Turquoise was an important step in its plans to develop competitive and attractive markets and services, but added: “We continue to take action to ensure the group competes effectively and expands its services.”

But the LSE signalled positive movements on the IPO markets, with a further 10 companies having joined the market so far in March.

Wednesday of this week saw four separate flotations on the LSE as gold producer African Barrick Gold, fashion retailer Supergroup, real estate investment trust Metric Property Investments and life assistance business CPP Group came to market, raising a total of over £900m.

The last time that amount was raised in a single day on the LSE was in May 2008 with the £1.3bn float of New World Resources and the £913m float of Fresnillo.

The last time the exchange saw four initial public offerings on the main market on a single day was on 17 October 2006.