Isuzu stock hammered in Tokyo

TOKYO — The stock price of Isuzu Motors Ltd., General Motors’ troubled, 49 percent-owned Japanese affiliate, tumbled 23 percent on the Tokyo Stock Exchange last week in a selloff triggered in large part by a brokerage house error.

Isuzu closed Friday, Dec. 7, at 87 a share, or about 72 cents a share, after tumbling to 70 at midweek. The Friday close is down 71 percent from the year’s high of 304 on May 28.

The selloff occurred late on Monday, Dec. 3, when a clerk at Deutsche Securities mistakenly punched in an order to sell 90 million Isuzu shares, or roughly 7 percent of the outstanding shares.

Seeing the order, other traders realized that only one investor held enough Isuzu stock to sell that much: GM.

If GM were selling, they quickly concluded, they should, too. Isuzu’s stock price tumbled.

Isuzu President Yoshinori Ida called an emergency press conference the following day to denounce “speculative” price movements and to issue a statement attributed to Rudolph Schlais Jr., president of GM Asia Pacific.

In it, Schlais said, “We certainly support” Isuzu’s restructuring efforts, “and have a great deal of confidence in the Isuzu management team.”

You can reach James B. Treece at jtreece@crain.com

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