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March 1, 1998

At Deadline - Amex Partner

By John A. Byrne

Many traders were stunned by media reports on Thursday, March 12. The National Association of Securities Dealer and the American Stock Exchange reportedly were discussing a merger. "I was working out when I heard the news," said Michael Barone, head of Nasdaq trading at William Blair & Company in Chicago. "It was a real surprise."

"I nearly doubled over in laughter," added Tony Broy, president of Hill, Thomson Magid & Co. in Jersey City. "Unbelievable is the word." But Nasdaq and Amex traders stressed that a merger could be an opportunity for Nasdaq to finally overtake the New York Stock Exchange as the world's largest stock market. Moreover, Nasdaq and Amex traders said a deal would lead to reduced overhead costs and, above all, more order flow.

"It's the best thing that has happened here in years," said Howard Lasher, a trader on the floor of the Amex. "I think the long-term ramifications are extremely beneficial." Broy, however, did have some reservations. "If the NASD becomes enamored of its own manure and becomes even less responsive to its Nasdaq members, then a merger is a bad thing."