What's not to love about NYSE Euronext
My interest in NYSE as an investment opportunity started when the century-old exchange bought Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick Archipelago. That merger made NYSE a publicly traded company, but more importantly, it signaled that the world's largest exchange was ready to change with the times instead of stick to tried-and-no-longer-true practices.
Archipelago was an all-computerized trading platform, designed to circumvent the cumbersome system of specialists on the trading floor entirely. It was an alternative to the Nasdaq
With that integration under its belt, the New Yorkers went overseas and snapped up a controlling stake in Euronext. That's a four-country trading platform, again fully computerized and with a common IT infrastructure. That deal would not have been realistic without Archipelago already inside the NYSE, so there's clearly a long-term plan here.
The Euronext merger closed this spring, and soon we should be able to exchange shares in American, French, Dutch, Belgian, and Portuguese listings with other investors across two continents. That's stocks, not ADR slips, and they're bought and sold in local currencies that give us a hedge for dollar movements.
Big-money players such as hedge funds and arbitrage specialists are licking their lips already at the tasty trans-Atlantic spreads they'll see. That sort of heavy trading is gold for the exchange, which collects trading fees on every share bought and sold.
Yeah, you can buy European stocks today, either through ADRs or the barely regulated bulletin board system. But those issues are rarely as liquid as the underlying stocks, and it's sometimes impossible to get a fair price that way -- even on a small order. My E*Trade
Opening up the floodgates here should mark the start of a truly global marketplace, with further market consolidation down the road. And the NYSE will lead that charge, all the way to the bank.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here, but he does own several stocks traded on the Big Board. And a bunch on the Nasdaq. Uh, and a couple from other markets, too. He is not afraid of the Pink Sheets when there is no other option. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like, and Foolish disclosure will make your day, every day.