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Tuesday, Feb 26, 2002

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Nasdaq woos non-tech cos

Nilanjan Dey

The Nasdaq authorities are of the opinion that the exchange has been the preferred destination for segment leaders because of its liquidity and growth prospects as well as technical edge. Among its benefits is a new pricing plan, which ensures higher liquidity, lower trading costs and equitable treatment to all participants.

KOLKATA, Feb. 25

AT a time when spirits are not particularly high on the Indian stock markets, Nasdaq is busy giving local corporates the example of Starbucks to suggest that there is more to it than just technology companies.

Starbucks, which the US exchange feels is among the world's hottest FMCG outfits, is currently among its favourite illustrations. Reference to it is said to throw up a different image of the exchange whose main index is often branded as "technology-heavy".

"Of course, we have the Microsofts and the Intels of the world. There are also a good number of innovative and high-growth corporations from other sectors. We would like to take in companies with growth possibilities subject to listing conditions and regulatory requirements," said Mr Ghanshyam Dass, Director of Nasdaq for South Asia.

Starbucks, it may be mentioned here, buys and roasts bean coffees and sells them with other beverages chiefly through company-operated retail establishments. It is traded on Nasdaq under the symbol `SBUX'.

The Nasdaq authorities are of the opinion that the exchange has been the preferred destination for segment leaders because of its liquidity and growth prospects as well as technical edge. Among its benefits is a new pricing plan, which ensures higher liquidity, lower trading costs and equitable treatment to all participants.

The third point, Mr Dass explained, is particularly important in the current context marked as it is by a section of market participants charging fees to access their liquidity while others are not doing so. This renders the market an uneven place to operate in. The pricing plan, however, ensures that there will be a more "balanced and equal" cost structure for all participants.

As for recent listings, more than 50 companies were added in 2001, a figure that does not compare favourably with that in the previous year. Incidentally, the domestic companies listed on it are Infosys, Satyam and Rediff.com. In India, Nasdaq is of the opinion that a number of fundamentally strong companies - about 50 - have the potential to find a berth on the exchange. There is no timeframe for this, it is stated.

"The markets are cyclical everywhere. When they recover, our systems will be ready to react to the comeback," Mr Dass said. Nasdaq, he added, is the only market to operate in three different domains, in the US, Europe and Japan.

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