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Two NYSE Seats Sell at a Five-Year Low

October 22, 2003|From Bloomberg News

Two New York Stock Exchange seats sold Tuesday for $1.35 million each, the lowest price in almost five years, on the heels of last week's announcement that the Big Board intends to charge five of its "specialist" firms with improper trading.

The sale price was a 27% decline from the last sale at $1.85 million on Sept. 18 and was the lowest since December 1998.

The sales occurred a month after NYSE Chairman Richard Grasso resigned after public outrage over his compensation.

Last week, the NYSE said it would seek "substantial fines" from five specialist firms for certain trading rule violations that hurt some investors from 2000 through 2002. Specialists oversee all trading on the NYSE floor.

The NYSE's yearlong investigation of the specialists has prompted fresh criticism of the exchange's trading regime. Some critics say the NYSE should shift to an all-electronic trading system.

The seat prices "reflect the risks and concerns about the ongoing viability and effectiveness of the exchange," said Richard Repetto, senior research analyst at Putnam Lovell NBF.

From Bloomberg News

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