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NYSE, NASD May Have Talked Merger

March 3, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ The New York Stock Exchange and the National Association of Securities Dealers, which oversee two of the world’s biggest stock markets, have discussed merging or other alliances, The Wall Street Journal reported today.

The talks are aimed at preserving their central role in fast-evolving equity markets, the newspaper said in a report that cited unidentified sources familiar with the discussions.

The newspaper said the contacts are described in a recent memorandum outlining the NASD’s proposed plan to spin off its Nasdaq Stock Market.

The document said senior officers of NASD and Nasdaq have talked with the NYSE and other major markets about ``joint ventures, affiliations and combinations,″ The Journal report said.

The Nasdaq and NYSE are normally fierce rivals, and their willingness to talk about alliances indicate how much technological changes are forcing securities markets to remake themselves.

An NYSE spokesman told the newspaper, ``We have said in the past that everybody in the industry is speaking with everybody else.″

An NASD spokesman was quoted by the newspaper as saying ``While we talk with everyone all the time, including the New York Stock Exchange, about possible arrangements, there are no agreements, negotiations or deals with the New York Stock Exchange.″

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently sought comments on several market-structure proposals that range from the status quo to different types of linkages among markets and exchanges.

The major broker-dealers, including Merrill Lynch & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., have indicated they favor a centrailized market with a single regulator.

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