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."