Sell at any price order triggers share rout for African Insurer

Clientele Ltd., a South African insurance holding company, plunged the most on record to an all-time low after someone entered an order to sell the stock at any price.

The shares, which have averaged 14.98 rand this year, slid 99 percent to 21 cents on Wednesday, with 488 securities changing hands at that price, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The insurer was down 2.4 percent at 14 rand by 12.42 p.m. in Johannesburg. More than 59,000 shares have traded, about 86 percent of the three-month daily average.

“It was the result of a client entering a market order to sell, that is an order which has no price limit attached and will match with whatever bids there are in the order book,” said Peter Redman, part of the surveillance team at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. The 488 shares that matched at 21 cents was part of a final tranche of the market order and “the trade will stand,” Redman said, without identifying the trader.

Clientele, which is based in Johannesburg, offers life, funeral, legal and health-insurance products. It has a market value of 4.38 billion rand ($307 million). Barclays Group Africa Ltd. analyst Larissa van Deventer rates the stock equalweight.

– Bloomberg