Barrier keeping Nasdaq firms off NYSE trading floor to finally come down

The New York Stock Exchange will finally let Nasdaq-listed companies such as Apple trade at its iconic Manhattan floor, breaking with decades of tradition.

NYSE was once the nation's dominant stock exchange, with a stranglehold on corporate listings. But Nasdaq Inc. has cut into that lead since its creation in 1971 as a price-quotation service for unlisted securities.

The Nasdaq now boasts enormous companies such as Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc. (Google's parent company), and Microsoft Corp. - actively traded stocks that historically were barred from the 224-year-old NYSE. That will change by the end of the year.

As part of the move, the NYSE will also serve as a market for exchange-traded funds, a rapidly growing industry.

"We're expanding the floor," Stacey Cunningham, NYSE Group's chief operating officer, told journalists during a conference call. "The way markets have evolved, investors aren't one-size-fits-all, and our markets aren't one-size-fits-all."

Nasdaq stocks already trade on NYSE's sibling market NYSE Arca, which lists ETFs. But Cunningham anticipates that the change will boost trading volume at her firm. NYSE Group's three stock exchanges - the NYSE, NYSE Arca, and NYSE MKT - together handle more than one-fifth of trading in the $26 trillion U.S. equity market.

The exchange changed course with encouragement from customers and aims to cater to institutional investors that trade shares using brokers on the NYSE floor, Cunningham said.

The exchange's fleet of designated market-makers, who manage trading of NYSE stocks, won't expand since their services are offered only to NYSE's listed companies, she added.

The news follows another change at NYSE: A plan announced this week to shut the trading floor of NYSE MKT, the tiny market formerly called the American Stock Exchange that has roots stretching back to the 19th century. The New York Stock Exchange floor isn't closing.

The two other major operators of American stock exchanges, Nasdaq and Bats Global Markets Inc., already provide access to all public U.S. companies, including NYSE stocks.

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