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February 1, 1998

Red Wrapper

By John A. Byrne

On Tuesday, Feb. 10, the media-relations people at the New York Stock Exchange issued a press release that said Cleveland-based American Greetings will "wrap the New York Stock Exchange building with a giant, red ribbon to hail its transfer from Nasdaq."

Sure enough, on Feb. 11, the card and gift company wrapped the red flag around the hulking exchange and distributed 4,000 announcement cards, 1,500 pocket calendars and 500 boxes of chocolates throughout the morning at the corner of Broad Street and Wall Street. The press release was headlined, "American Greetings Wraps the NYSE as a Gift Celebration of Transfer from Nasdaq." Ouch.

A little triumphalist perhaps? "We wanted to make an interesting headline," responded a spokeswoman for the exchange. "The media does that kind of thing all the time." American Greetings is the fifth company to transfer to the Big Board from Nasdaq this year, coming on the heels of record transfers in 1997.