Reinstated stock rules worry companies

Traders work the floor at the New York Stock Exchange

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Back when the financial crisis hit, the New York and Nasdaq stock exchanges declared a state of emergency and relaxed some of the rules on the companies they list. Well beginning today, those old rules are back -- including a requirement that stock values stay above a dollar to be eligible for trading. As Jill Barshay reports, it's got a lot of companies nervous.


JILL BARSHAY: Two dozen stocks are trading below a dollar on the New York Stock Exchange. Several hundred are in trouble on the Nasdaq. Richard Sylla is a professor at New York University's Stern School of Business. He says to avoid the stigma of being delisted, some companies will employ a financial sleight-of-hand.

RICHARD Sylla: Companies often split their shares to get the price down. Well, why not have a reverse split to get the price up?

Delisting's bad news for companies, but it's worse for investors. They lose access to information and stock prices. But Sylla says the restoration of the dollar rule isn't such a bad thing.

Sylla:It can be taken as a sign of confidence that the worst is behind us because the exchanges do not really like to reduce the size of their business which is what happens when a company is delisted.

Delistings won't happen immediately. There's a probation period. But Sylla says many shaky companies will vanish from the exchanges over the next eight months.

In New York, I'm Jill Barshay for Marketplace.

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