Commentary: Has The Curb Market Moved Into The Gutter?

Visitors to the American Stock Exchange building in lower Manhattan are greeted by a sign with a simple message: "Put Your Business Where the Future Is." For the third-largest U.S. stock market, a powerhouse in options but a perennial also-ran in equities, the sign is not so much a slogan as a plea. The Amex needs business--stock listings, to be exact--if the word "stock" in its name is to have any meaning. Well, two years after its merger with the National Association of Securities Dealers, the Amex is getting business, all right--from the smallest, least attractive stocks in existence.

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