Global Bourses? Hold Your Horses

Cross-border securities trading makes sense, but national barriers are proving hard to breach

One world, one equities market. Global exchanges where trading never stops. Stock market futurists insist that, on a wired planet, the world's 100-plus bourses must converge into a few networks of world scope. And stock exchange presidents in at least a dozen countries are struggling to turn that vision into reality. The need for unified trading systems--at least for the 2,000 or so companies of global interest--seems obvious to them. The potential savings on technology and order processing could be prodigious.

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