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April 21, 2005

West Coast Pros on Warpath

By Gregory Bresiger

Traders based on the U.S. West Coast don't want to get up any earlier than they already do, says an official of a trading group. So he was imploring the New York Stock Exchange not to move up its 9:30 a.m. EST opening because he believes it would be a hardship.

"The trains don't run early enough out here for any market hours change," Brett Mock, president of the San Francisco chapter of the STA (SFSTA), told Traders Magazine. "This is a huge issue to the West Coast trading community and to the economy out here in general."

New York Stock Exchange officials have said they are considering advancing the opening by as much as two hours. The idea is to capture more foreign listings as well as trading volume. The NYSE also fears competitors could steal business with an earlier opening. However, the NYSE proposal would require Securities and Exchange Commission approval. An NYSE spokeswoman said the issue is still under review. The most recent talk of extending the trading day brings back memories of the Internet bubble era when execs promoted trading around the clock. That talk died down when the bubble burst. The most recent proposals - modest in comparison - have a better chance even with rejection in the short term. Nevertheless, SFSTA officials sent a letter to NYSE Chairman John Thain, arguing that the current Big Board hours are sufficient.

"Buyside institutions have only a finite amount of orders in any given day," the STA's San Francisco chapter said. "Extending trading hours will not increase the number of those orders. In fact, extending the exchange's hours could have an adverse impact by spreading valuable liquidity over a longer time span."