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UTP Committee agrees on communications procedures for Nasdaq trading halts; AKJ hooks up institutional trading platform to Hotspot FXi; Eurex will surpass one billion contracts for 2003.

The Unlisted Trading Privileges Committee (UTP Committee) " comprised of seven exchanges and markets trading Nasdaq-listed stocks " unanimously agreed upon new coordination and communication procedures for trading halts, specifically in the event of extraordinary market activity that impacts more than one market. The recommendations will be submitted to each of the plan participants board of directors and the Securities and Exchange Commission for review and approval. Among the key recommendations, all participants are required to use the Hoot-n-Holler systems, a commonly used communications mechanism across all U.S. markets to provide verbal, real-time information to all participants. In the event of a systems failure at a UTP Plan Participant or customer, the participant, in coordination with Nasdaq, will determine to what degree the system problem is contained within its marketplace and, if contained, will remove its quote. This will enable markets to continue to trade when a systems problem is specific to one marketplace. If the extraordinary market activity is not contained to a single market and cannot be resolved within five minutes of the first notification, through the Hoot-n-Holler systems, or if participants unanimously agree to a halt sooner, Nasdaq, as the listing market, may institute an extraordinary market regulatory halt. Nasdaq will simultaneously notify the securities industry processor and verbally notify all participants using the Hoot-n-Holler system.

Hotspot FXi's institutional foreign-exchange marketplace will be available via AKJ ExNet is an order-routing platform that connects traders with a secure, single point of trade entry to 51 securities and derivatives markets and exchanges worldwide. The deal will enable ExNet customers to execute spot foreign exchange transactions in major currency pairs and cross rates exclusively on Hotspot FXI's open foreign-exchange marketplace. The ExNet platform is operated by AKJensen, Inc., a global introducing broker acting as agent, arranging deals between authorized institutions. ExNet, is FIX compliant and provides straight-through processing as well as other operational and cost efficiencies to institutional traders.

Eurex, the international derivatives exchange, has broken a record with 1.012 billion contracts traded and cleared for the year 2003, as compared with 801 million contracts the year before. This is based on preliminary figures, which include an estimate for the last six exchange-trading days of the year. It corresponds to a 26 percent increase in trading and clearing volume increased or 212 million contracts. In the equity-based products, volume increased by about 28 percent, to more than 447 million contracts traded, versus 350 million in 2002. The index segment rose 24 percent, with the future on the DJ Euro-STOXX 50 performing the strongest with 115 million contracts traded. In fixed-income, the capital market products were the most successful with some 565 million contracts traded, an increase of 26 percent over 2002's 447 million contracts traded. The Euro-Bund future with volume of about 236 million contracts, an increase of 28 percent over 2002's 191 million contracts, was the highest-turnover product.

The Singapore Exchange Ltd. (SGX) hired OM, Sweden's transaction technology vendor, to supply it with an integrated trading platform based on its Click XT system. The new platform will support all trading from traditional securities and derivatives to advanced cross-border trades. Click XT, which is the next generation of the OM Click solution, supports trading in multiple markets on a single platform, including equities and derivatives, fixed income and commodities. The contract covers licensing, implementation, and support of the system. SGX will call the new trading engine SGX QUEST (SGX Quotation and Execution System for Trading). The system is slated to go live in the derivatives market by the third quarter of 2004 and in the securities market by the first half of 2005.

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