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To the joy of the Toronto Stock Exchange's upstart competitors, Canada's dominant trading platform is shut down Wednesday due to "technical issues."

Investment dealers are routing buying and selling through upstart alterative trading systems such as Pure and Alpha on Wednesday after the TSX and TSX Venture Exchange failed to open as scheduled. Both exchanges are owned by TMX Group. Blue chip companies that are inter-listed with U.S. exchanges are still changing hands. Nortel Networks, for example, has traded 9 million shares Wednesday on the NYSE.

There is no word from TSX executives on just when trading will begin, or what the problem might be. Sources say the problem is with data feeds, while the trading systems are all working. The exchange can't open if it can't tell investors the bid and ask price on stocks.

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The TSX traditionally accounts for up to 90 per cent of Canadian stock trading. Rival trading networks say volumes are thin with the TSX down, as investors still turn to the incumbent exchange for price leadership, and are wary of trading without that information.

Regulatory changes in recent years have led to the launch of a number of rivals, all focused on winning market share from the TSX.

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