First Myanmar Investment’s shareholders got a taste of stock market volatility yesterday as their shares lost and then regained 24 percent of their value in just a few hours.

The company became the first to list its shares on the new Yangon Exchange on March 25. It remains the only listed firm, although Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings is scheduled to debut on the exchange in April. FMI’s shares opened at K41,000 yesterday, having hit the price ceiling on each of the three consecutive trading days since the company launched at K26,000 last week.

Shares with a base price between K20,000 and K40,000 are limited to moves of K5000 up or down in a single day. Bypassing the K40,000 barrier the shares became free to trade across wider daily range of K10,000 in either direction. Shares are matched twice daily. At yesterday’s 11am matching session – the first of the day – FMI’s shares sank K10,000 to hit their floor price of K31,000 with some 45,000 traded.

That trading volume was considerably less that those seen during the morning matching sessions on March 28 and 29, when over 100,000 shares changed hands. At yesterday’s 1pm matching session trading volumes were even lower – just 27,757 shares were traded – but it was enough to send the shares back up to K41,000.

The firm’s value sank to K727.8 billion in the morning, and recovered to K962.6 billion by the afternoon.

An official the Yangon Stock Exchange’s market department said there was nothing strange about the move.

“It [the price] is based on supply and demand and depends on the market,” he said. But Rudi Rolles, managing director at KBZ Stirling Coleman, said K31,000 was a “freak price”.

Market sell orders had met with too little demand, and it was clear that some sellers were “a bit shocked” by the matched price, he said.

“If they had thought K31,000 would be the matching price they wouldn’t have put a market order in,” he said.

A market order is an order to buy or sell at the best available price, with no restrictions on a minimum or maximum price. A market sell order placed on the exchange at 10am would be made at the best price available at the matching session at 11am, even if that price was at the floor limit for the day. The K10,000 drop yesterday showed just how careful investors have to be with market orders, Mr Rolles added.

Retail clients – individual investors – would be well advised to use limit orders “so as not to get a surprise execution price”, Mr Rolles said. Limit orders specify a minimum or maximum price at which an order will be executed, although this risks the transaction not taking place if the order cannot be met at the specified price.

As FMI’s shares finished yesterday at K41,000 they are again free to move K10,000 either direction today, giving them a potential range of K31,000 to K51,000. Yesterday afternoon’s trading was stable, Mr Rolles said, with bids and offers ranging between K40,000 and K41,000.

“It looks as though we have found a bit of an equilibrium,” he said.