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March 1, 1998

Extended Trading Hours Imminent?

By Staff reports

Extended trading hours on U.S. stock markets, once dismissed as unrealistic, may soon become necessary for the success of a pilot program at the New York Stock Exchange.

About a dozen European companies are expected to join the program and begin trading their ordinary shares in multiple currencies within the next 18 months.

Speaking at an industry conference, Big Board President Richard Grasso said the exchange had started negotiations with several companies in the U.K. Italy, Germany and France about listing their ordinary shares in domestic currencies.

More than 300 of the 3,000 companies now listed on the Big Board are non-U.S. issues, and most trade depository receipts, which represent dollar-denominated certificates for an underlying number of shares. Grasso said if the pilot program is successful, the NYSE would have to extend its trading day to up to 20 hours. That, in turn, would likely force Nasdaq to eventually extend its own trading day, experts said.