Stock Exchanges Go Decimal Today

Effective today, fractions are no longer welcome on both the New York Stock Exchange and the American Stock Exchange. Both exchanges will trade all stocks in decimals, the last step in a government-mandated move that has been planned for three years.

Close to 5,000 stocks were due to be switched when trading begun today. The switchover will not involve all U.S. stocks, at least not yet. The Nasdaq Stock Market, home to more than 4,600 companies, plans to start converting its trading to decimals in March of this year and finish by April 9, the deadline set by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC had ordered this shift to decimalization on the theory it would make stock prices easier for investors to understand, and potentially open stock bidding and selling to more competition. For most investors, any adjustments to the new system will be minimal.

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