Stephen Cranston Writer & columnist

Nasdaq is a great stock exchange in many ways, more in tune with modern needs than its main competitor, the New York Stock Exchange. It is hard to believe the NYSE still has a trading floor, though I discovered when I was there that it is more a piece of theatre — a setting for the televised opening and closing bell — than a venue for exchanging shares. Its share of exchange business is around 15% and falling. Nasdaq was an electronic exchange from day one, which appealed to the technology start-ups. Unfortunately, for my generation Nasdaq will always be associated with the 2000 dot-com bust. There was InfoSpace (in fact quite a good content provider to the Web), where the share price fell from US$1,305 to just $2; Broadband Sports, which raised $60m in 2000 but soon went bust; telecom group Global Crossing, which went from a $47bn market cap to bankruptcy in 60 seconds, or at least it seemed like it. There was Webvan, which promised grocery delivery in 30 minutes. If it listed toda...

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