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Self-Regulatory Organizations; Order Granting Approval of Proposed Rule Change by the American Stock Exchange LLC Relating to Crossing Procedures for Clean Agency Crosses

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Start Preamble February 11, 2003.

On November 5, 2002, the American Stock Exchange LLC (“Amex” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”), pursuant to section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”) [1] and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,[2] a proposed rule change to amend Amex Rule 126(g), Commentary .02 to provide that orders of 5,000 shares or more for the account of a non-member organization may be crossed at a price at or within the bid or offer without being broken up by a specialist or Registered Trader acting as principal. The Amex filed an amendment to the proposed rule change on December 23, 2002.[3] The proposed rule change, as amended, was published for notice and comment in the Federal Register on January 7, 2003.[4] The Commission received no comments on the proposed rule change.

The Commission finds that the proposed rule change is consistent with the requirements of the Act and the rules and regulations thereunder applicable to a national securities exchange [5] and, in particular, the requirements of section 6 of the Act [6] and the rules and regulations thereunder. The Commission finds specifically that the proposed rule change is consistent with Section 6(b)(5) of the Act [7] in that the Rule is designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to foster cooperation and coordination with persons engaged in facilitating transactions in securities, to remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and a national market system, and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest; and is not designed to permit unfair discrimination between customers, issuers, brokers, or dealers. The Commission believes that the proposed rule change, while eliminating the opportunity for specialists and Registered Traders to effect a proprietary transaction to provide price improvement to one side of a clean cross or the other, preserves auction market principles by providing the possibility of price improvement (because members must follow Amex Rule 151 crossing procedures), and by requiring that members trade with other market interest having time priority at that price before trading with any part of the cross transaction. In addition, the Commission believes that the proposal will enhance competition among markets in the execution of agency crosses.

It is therefore ordered, pursuant to section 19(b)(2) of the Act [8] , that the proposed rule change, as amended (SR-AMEX-2002-89), be, and hereby is, approved.

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For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.[9]

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

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3.  See letter from Michael Cavalier, Associate General Counsel, Amex, to Nancy Sanow, Assistant Director, Division of Market Regulation, SEC, dated December 20, 2002, and enclosures (“Amendment No. 1”). Amendment No. 1 corrected a typographical error in the text of the proposed amendment.

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4.  Securities Exchange Act Release No. 47113 (December 31, 2002), 68 FR 818.

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5.  In approving this proposed rule change, the Commission has considered the proposed rule's impact on efficiency, competition, and capital formation. 15 U.S.C. 78c(f).

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8.  15 U.S.C. 78s(b)(2). proposed rule change, as amended (SR-Amex-2002-89), be, and hereby is, approved.

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[FR Doc. 03-4045 Filed 2-19-03; 8:45 am]