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Amex bulks up on smaller caps

Without much fanfare, the American Stock Exchange has achieved remarkable success over the past two years in attracting new listings, especially from foreign issuers.

Between 2002 and 2003, Amex attracted 77% more new listings than in the previous year, compared with a fall in new listings of 36% at the New York Stock Exchange. New listings on Nasdaq were unchanged.

So far this year, Amex has attracted 74 new listings, while NYSE has listed 91, and Nasdaq 110. But Amex has succeeded in attracting 13 foreign listings so far this year, the same as Nasdaq and more than the 8 that listed on the NYSE.

Although Amex has a few large-cap names – such as British American Tobacco, with a market capitalization of $30.5 billion; and Imperial Oil, with a market cap of $15.8 billion – the exchange has proved most popular with small-cap and mid-cap companies. A large part of its success has come from assiduous courting of Canadian smaller companies seeking a secondary listing.

Since 2002, Amex has been the exchange of choice for Canadian companies seeking secondary listings abroad, outstripping Nasdaq and London's junior market, Aim. In 2003, 16 Canadian companies, mainly mining companies, listed on Amex, compared with five on Nasdaq and six on Aim.

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