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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; Notice of Filing and Immediate Effectiveness of Proposed Rule Change by the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, Inc. Amending PHLX Rule 237 To Extend the Pilot Program for VTS Until November 1, 2000

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Start Preamble April 19, 2000.

Pursuant to section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”) [1] and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,[2] notice is hereby given that on March 24, 2000, the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, Inc. (“PHLX” or “Exchange”), filed a proposed rule change with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”). The proposed rule change is described in Items I, II, and III below, which Items have been prepared by Exchange. On April 12, 2000, the Exchange filed Amendment No. 1 to the proposed rule change.[3] The Exchange filed the proposed rule change, as amended, pursuant to section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act,[4] and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder,[5] which renders the proposed rule change effective upon filing with the Commission. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comment son the proposed rule change, as amended, from interested persons.

I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

The Exchange proposes to extend the pilot program for the Volume Weighted Average Price (“VWAP”) Trading System (“VTS” or “System”) [6] under November 1, 2000.

II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

In its filing with the Commission, the Exchange included statements concerning the purpose of and basis for the proposed rule change and discussed any comments it received on the proposed rule change. The text of these statements may be examined at the places specified in Item IV below. The Exchange has prepared summaries, set forth in sections A, B, and C below, of the most significant aspects of such statements.

A. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

1. Purpose

VTS is a pre-opening order matching session for the electronic execution of large-sized stock orders at the volume weighted average price (“VWAP”). The Exchange received Commission approval to operate VTS as a one year pilot on March 24, 1999.[7] The VTS became operational on August 27, 1999. As a condition to the pilot program, the Commission requested that the Exchange prepare a comprehensive report pertaining to the operation and effectiveness of the VTS.[8]

The Exchange now proposes to extend the current pilot program until November 1, 2000 in order to have a complete year of trading information through the VTS. This will allow the Exchange to issue the required report based on a full year of trading which should provide a more comprehensive assessment of the VTS.

2. Statutory Basis

The Exchange believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with section 6(b)(5) of the Act [9] in that it is designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to remove impediments to and Start Printed Page 24530perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system, and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest. By extending the period of time that VTS is operational, the Exchange can evaluate the VTS for its impact on investors as well as the market as a whole as it prepares the Commission's requested report.

B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

The Exchange does not believe that the proposed rule change, as amended, will result in any burden on competition that is not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Act.

C. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants or Others

The Exchange has neither solicited nor received written comments on the proposed rule change, as amended.

III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed rule Change and Timing for Commission Action

The foregoing rule change has become effective upon filing pursuant to section 19(b)(3)(A)(iii) of the Act [10] and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) [11] thereunder because the proposed rule change does not (i) significantly affect the protection of investors or the public interest; (ii) impose any significant burden on competition; and (iii) become operative for 30 days from the date on which the proposed rule change was filed, or such shorter time as the Commission may designate. At any time within 60 days of the filing of such proposed rule change, the Commission may summarily abrogate such rule change if it appears to the Commission that such action is necessary or appropriate in the public interest, for the protection of investors, or otherwise in furthernance of the purposes of the Act.

The Commission finds that it is appropriate to accelerate the effective date of the proposed rule change and to permit the proposed rule change to become immediately effective because the proposal simply extends a previously approved pilot program. By extending the pilot program, the Commission will enable the Exchange to continue to offer the System without interruption, and will allow the Exchange to collect and analyze the information necessary to produce the report requested by the Commission. In addition, the Commission finds that the Exchange provided the required prefiling written notice of its intent to file this proposed rule change when it filed the original proposed rule change.[12]

IV. Solicitation of Comments

Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views and arguments concerning the foregoing including whether the proposed rule change is consistent with the Act. Persons making written submissions should file six copies thereof with the Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 450 Fifth Street, NW., Washington, DC 20549-0609. Copies of the submission, all subsequent amendments, all written statements with respect to the proposed rule change that are filed with the Commission, and all written communications relating to the proposed rule change between the Commission and any person, other than those that may be withheld from the public in accordance with the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552, will be available for inspection and copying in the Commission's Public Reference Room. Copies of such filing will also be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of the Exchange. All submissions should refer to File No. SR-Phlx-00-26 and should be submitted by May 17, 2000.

Start Signature
For the Commission by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.[13]

Margaret M. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

3.  See April 12, 2000 letter from Nandita Yagnik, Exchange, to Rebekah Liu, Special Counsel, Division of Market Regulation, SEC (“Amendment No. 1”). In Amendment No. 1, the Exchange requested that the proposed rule change be filed under Section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act and Rule 19b-4(f)(6) thereunder. 15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(3)(A) and 17 CFR 240.19b-4(f)(6). The Exchange also requested that the Commission waive the 5-day notice of its intent to file the proposal by treating the original proposed rule change as the prefiling notice required under Rule 19b-4(f)(6); and requested that the Commission waive the 30-day period before the proposal becomes effective to permit the proposed rule change to become immediately effective.

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6.  The Exchange has filed a proposed rule change to change the name of VTS to “eVWAP.” See SR-Phlx-00-19.

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7.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 41210 (March 24, 1999), 64 FR 15857 (April 1, 1999)(SR-Phlx-96-14).

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8.  The Commission requested that the Exchange provide a report that: (i) Addresses the overall reliability of the System and identifies any System outages or other technical problems; (ii) provides a summary of the Exchange's surveillance efforts; (iii) discusses the strategies employed by the users and committers and evaluates whether the system is useful to market participants; (iv) provides feedback from Exchange members and non-members regarding their experience with the system; and (v) measures the system's impact and effect on the primary market of eligible securities. The Exchange proposes to submit its report by September 1, 2000.

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12.  In reviewing this proposal, the Commission has considered its impact on efficiency, competition, and capital formation. 15 U.S.C. 78c(f).

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[FR Doc. 00-10370 Filed 4-25-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-M