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Decimal Delay Sought

February 22, 2001|Associated Press

Stock traders have asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to extend the April 9 deadline for implementing decimal-priced stock quotes on Nasdaq by at least four months, saying the market needs more time to make the switch.

"The current plan does not provide enough time to adequately test and assess the many technology and trading issues associated with the conversion," the Security Traders Assn. contends in a letter to Laura Unger, the SEC's acting chairwoman.

Nasdaq officials could not be reached for comment. But earlier this month, Nasdaq officials defended the market for taking longer than the New York Stock Exchange to convert prices to decimals. CEO Hardwick "Wick" Simmons said at the time that the Nasdaq would meet the April 9 deadline.

The NYSE completed the conversion to decimals on Jan. 29.

The government mandated in 1997 that U.S. markets move toward pricing stocks in decimals.

Despite the advance notice, Nasdaq last year said its computers, strained by heavy trading volume, weren't ready to handle the change. The SEC then pushed back its original July 3, 2000, deadline to this April.

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