Latest Phony Concern: Delistings “Pinching” Exchanges

One of things I enjoy about the financial media is finding stories that are negative no matter what the outcome is. For example, you’re read a story about “red lining” and how banks are shutting out lower-income borrowers. Then a few years later, you’ll read a story about “predatory lending,” and how banks are taking advantage of lower-income borrowers. The completely contradict each other, but end results is always bad news. Or worse, it “raises concerns.” One day I hope to write a book, ” How Media Alarmism is Killing Our Children.”
If you want to be taken seriously as an economic analyst or policy maker, you need to spend much of your day being “worried” and/or “concerned.” You don’t have to do anything. Just say that this latest development “raises troubling questions.” (See Bernanke Warns.)
Probably the classic example is the worry of corporate consolidation and mega-mergers seamlessly turns into a worry about junk IPOs. I would think you can worry about one of these, but not both. Apparently the latest concern is a wave of stock delistings:

The combination of more delistings and fewer new listings has pinched the big U.S. exchange operators, as the financial meltdown topples some of their clients and spooks others.
Midway through this year, more companies than in previous years had been bumped from the Nasdaq Stock Market and, to a lesser extent, from the New York Stock Exchange because they failed to meet the minimum requirements.
Meanwhile, tumbling stock markets have brought the IPO market to a crawl, compounding the pain for Nasdaq OMX Group and NYSE Euronext, which derive up to 15 percent of their overall revenue from listing fees.
It’s a negative” for the exchanges, said Ed Ditmire, analyst at Fox-Pitt Kelton. “But it ebbs and flows with the economic cycle.”
More Nasdaq-listed companies have been delisted for non-compliance so far this year than in either of the previous two years, according to Nasdaq data. Some 54 stocks were bumped as of Aug. 7, compared to 48 in all of last year and 52 in 2006.
At larger rival NYSE, data show 11 companies had been delisted due to non-compliance as of July 1. That compares to 21 delistings in all of last year and 14 in 2006.

Let me get this right: A growing wave of delistings is 11 for the first half of this year compared with 21 for all of last year?

Posted by on August 28th, 2008 at 10:08 am

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