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May 31, 2004

A Short Sale Pilot Program

By Gregory Bresiger

The SEC is leaning towards a 12-month pilot program that would test a proposed short- sale rule reform plan.

The measure would exempt hundreds of the most liquid stocks from a uniform bid test plan that is advocated in the Securities and Exchange Commission's package of short sale rule proposals.

There is strong support for a 12-month program, Annette Nazareth, the SEC's director in the division of market regulation, told attendees at the annual Washington conference of the STA.

"They don't want to wait two years. People really embraced the concept of a pilot of several hundred stocks," she added. "This is something we are considering very seriously."

At last count, the agency had received 400 comment letters on the short sale rule proposal known as Reg SHO.