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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; Notice of Filing and Order Granting Accelerated Approval of Proposed Rule Change by the Chicago Stock Exchange, Incorporated Relating to Execution of Limit Orders Following Exempted ITS Trade-Through

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Start Preamble July 21, 2003.

Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Act”),[1] and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,[2] notice is hereby given that on July 17, 2003, the Chicago Stock Exchange, Incorporated (“CHX” or “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I and II below, which Items have been prepared by the Exchange. The Commission is publishing this notice to Start Printed Page 44371solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested persons.

The proposal is intended to coincide with the Commission's extension of a de minimis exemption from the trade-through provisions of the Intermarket Trading System (“ITS”) Plan with respect to certain transactions in the Nasdaq-100 Index (“QQQs”), the Dow Jones Industrial Average (“DIAMONDs”), and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index (“SPDRs”).[3] The Commission's original exemption expired on June 4, 2003. The Exchange Rule that mirrors the Commission's exemption similarly expired on June 4, 2003.[4] The Commission recently extended the effectiveness of the exemption to March 4, 2004.[5] In order to avoid a lapse in the effectiveness of the corresponding Exchange Rule, this order is approving the Exchange's proposal to extend the rule from June 5, 2003 until March 4, 2004.

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

In response to the Commission's extension of a de minimis exemption for transactions in certain exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”) from the trade-through provisions of the ITS Plan to March 4, 2004,[6] the Exchange proposes to amend certain provisions of CHX Article XX, Rule 37, which governs, among other things, execution of limit orders in a CHX specialist's book following a trade-through in the primary market. Specifically, the CHX seeks to render voluntary a CHX specialist's obligation to fill limit orders in the specialist's book following a primary market trade-through, if such trade-through constitutes an Exempted Trade-Through.[7] The text of the proposed rule change is available at the Commission and at the CHX.

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 CHX included statements concerning the purpose of and basis for the proposed rule change and discussed any comments it received regarding the proposal. The text of these statements may be examined at the places specified in Item III below. The CHX 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

Article XX, Rules 37(a)(3) and 37(b)(6) of the CHX Rules, which govern execution of limit orders in a CHX specialist's book, provide for the execution of such orders at the limit price when certain conditions occur in the primary market. Specifically, these provisions obligate a CHX specialist to fill limit orders in his book if there is a trade-through of the limit price in the primary market.

With continued effectiveness of the ITS Exemption Order until March 4, 2004, certain primary market trade-throughs in ETFs that will trigger a CHX specialist's obligation to provide trade-through protection will constitute Exempt Trade-Throughs, and will leave the CHX specialist without recourse to seek satisfaction from the primary market. While the CHX believes that certain CHX specialists may still wish to provide trade-through protection to their limit orders for business and marketing reasons, the CHX believes that trade-through protection should no longer be mandated in the case of Exempted Trade-Throughs. The proposed rule change would continue to permit, but would not require, a CHX specialist firm to fill limit orders in his book when an Exempted Trade-Through occurs in the primary market.

2. Statutory Basis

The CHX believes the proposal is consistent with the requirements of the Act and the rules and regulations thereunder that are applicable to a national securities exchange, and, in particular, with the requirements of section 6(b).[8] The CHX believes the proposal is consistent with section 6(b)(5) of the Act [9] in that it is designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to remove impediments to, and to perfect the mechanism of, a free and open market and a national market system, and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest.

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

The Exchange does not believe that the proposed rule change will impose any inappropriate burden on competition.

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

No written comments were either solicited or received.

III. 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 CHX. All submissions should refer to File No. SR-CHX-2003-20 and should be submitted by August 18, 2003.

IV. Discussion

After careful review, 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.[10] In particular, the Commission finds that the proposed rule is consistent with the requirements of section 6(b)(5) of the Act [11] because it is designed to facilitate transactions in securities; to remove impediments to Start Printed Page 44372and 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 finds good cause for approving the proposed rule change prior to the thirtieth day after the date of the publication of notice thereof in the Federal Register, and is granting approval retroactively to June 5, 2003, the effective date of the Commission's extension of the ITS exemption so that the proposed rule change coincides with the Commission's extension of its de minimis trade-through exemption for certain ITS securities. The Commission believes that by extending the Exchange's proposed exemption for its members, the Exchange removes the specialist's obligation to provide trade-through protection in situations where it will not be permitted to seek satisfaction through ITS from the primary market.

This obligation was one the CHX assumed voluntarily in order to make its market more attractive to sources of order flow, not an obligation the Act imposes on a market. The Commission believes that the business decision to potentially forego order flow by no longer providing print protection is a judgment the Act allows the CHX to make.[12]

V. Conclusion

It is therefore ordered, pursuant to section 19(b)(2) of the Act,[13] that the proposed rule change (SR—CHX-2003-20) is approved on an accelerated basis and is effective retroactively to June 5, 2003.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.[14]

Jill M. Peterson

Assistant Secretary

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

3.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 46428 (August 28, 2002), 67 FR 56607 (September 4, 2002) at 56607 (“ITS Exemption Order”).

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4.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 46760 (November 1, 2002), 67 FR 68219 (November 8, 2002)(order approving SR-CHX-2002-29).

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5.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 47950 (May 30, 2003), 68 FR 33748 (June 5, 2003)(order extending ITS Exemption Order).

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7.  An Exempted Trade-Through is a trade-through in one of the three ETFs designated in the ITS Exemption Order when the transaction is executed at a price that is no more than three cents lower than the highest bid displayed in CQS and no more than three cents higher than the lowest offer displayed in CQS.

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10.  In approving this rule proposal, the Commission notes that it has also considered the proposed rule's impact on efficiency, competition, and capital formation. 15 U.S.C. 78c(f).

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12.  The Commission notes that the CHX's proposed rule change will remain in effect only until the expiration of the extension of Commission's ITS Exemption Order on March 4, 2004.

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[FR Doc. 03-19085 Filed 7-25-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-P