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ECNs and Nasdaq square up for round two

Electronic trading

Simmons: Nasdaq's chairman and
chief executive is set to leave following
a row with the board

Nasdaq's new electronic trading system, SuperMontage, was widely expected to wipe out the ECNs (electronic communication networks) that have succeeded in winning so much of its trading volume. But the completion of SuperMontage's roll-out on December 2 - after a six-week piecemeal process of adding stocks to the system - left market shares virtually unchanged by year-end.

Market-share statistics have been volatile but according to research by Putnam Lovell, SuperMontage's share of stocks then on its system actually fell over the week ending November 11. SuperMontage's market share for the 985 stocks then trading was approximately 21%, well below its January to August average of 28.5%. Instinet/Island's market share by contrast was 29.3%.

Nasdaq declines to reveal SuperMontage's market share since the roll-out was completed or to say what market share it would consider a success. Dean Furbush, executive vice-president of transaction services at Nasdaq, does however claim to be "very comfortable" with the statistics.

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