By Frederic Pouchot, AFP
PARIS: A transatlantic stock market giant made its trading debut on Wednesday as the newly-merged market operator NYSE-Euronext listed in Paris and New York at an initial reference price of 75.61 euros.
Created at the end of March, the stock market group boasted a market value of 19.32 billion euros (25.81 billion dollars), making it the world’s largest listed exchange group based on the opening price for the combined share on Euronext Paris.
At a launch ceremony at the Paris stock exchange it made no secret of its global ambitions and its plan to move on to Asia.
“NYSE Euronext is the global leader and we have significant business opportunities ahead of us,” John Thain, the group’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.
“We have 78 of the top 100 largest companies in the world listed on NYSE-Euronext markets, and we will continue to expand our global footprint and offer our customers a wider variety of trading products and services.
“As capital markets around the world consolidate, NYSE Euronext will play a central role in the development and definition of the new global marketplace,” he said.
The new leviathan brings markets in New York, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Lisbon under one roof and also includes the Liffe financial futures market in London.
The combined value of the businesses listed on its different markets, including foreign companies, comes to $28,500 billion, way ahead of its nearest competitor, the Tokyo Stock Exchange on $5 billion.
The NYSE and Euronext hope that by coming together, they will increase the size of their aggregate business as each will be open to customers of the other.
“It is a historic day for our new company, for our industry and for world financial markets,” said the vice president of the operator’s board of governors Marsall Carter.
The two companies will also be able to share the costs of computer systems and administration, saving $375 million (284 million euros) in 2009.
Jean-Francois Theodore, deputy chief executive, said on Wednesday that the creation of NYSE-Euronext would open the way for all participants to trade a broader range of products across extended time zones using harmonized trading platforms.
In late morning Paris trades, NYSE Euronext shares, quoted as “NYX” had given up 2.31% to 73.86 euros, while the CAC-40 index was essentially flat overall.
Trading was due to start in New York at 09:30 am (1330 GMT).
After an opening ceremony on the Paris stock exchange, the operator’s chiefs were to hop on the plane to New York for a similar ceremony at the closing on Wall Street.
In the last few years European stock markets, essentially those in Frankfurt and London, and Euronext, have been entwined in moves and counter moves to form alliances but without success.
When the NYSE bid for Euronext was announced a year ago, it raised hostility in political and economic circles in Europe on the grounds that it was not a “merger of equals” as claimed by the architects.
Opposition was based on the assessment that it amounted to an outright takeover of the pan-European exchange Euronext by US interests.
In practice the two component markets retain their separate identities, their specific trading arrangements and their trading hours.
A vital point is that companies quoted on each market will continue to operate under existing regulations. European companies will not be affected by severe US accounting rules, as stipulated by the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation, which are much criticised in the US for increasing costs on quoted companies.