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Ltd. was set to temporarily shut down its nighttime stock market after its session Friday because of recent sluggish trading.

Company officials said it is unclear when trading, launched in January 2001, will resume, but the company will pay attention to market trends and the wishes of individual investors and brokerages.

The Moon Trade service, intended to boost investment among individual investors, was to end at 11:50 p.m., after operating for only a year and five months.

The service allowed online trading of shares on the exchanges in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya, as well as the over-the-counter market.

Goldman Sachs offered the bid and sell prices, and investors placed orders through the Internet brokerages of DLJdirect SFJ Securities Inc., Matsui Securities Co. and E*Trade Securities Co.

On the Moon Trade market, trading volume among the three brokerages totaled nearly 5 billion yen in May 2001 but shrank to about a tenth of its peak by January and has not picked up.

The other nighttime market in Japan, run by major online brokerage Monex Inc. and also launched in January 2001, will continue operating.

Trading on the Monex Nighter market is based on the closing prices at the three major exchanges and the OTC market.

The nighttime market was originally proposed by the Tokyo Stock Exchange as a measure to stimulate trading.

Industry officials say nighttime trading would become more popular if the TSE takes charge of operating the market and helps to make the price-setting process more transparent.

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