In its latest act of self-reinvention, to compete with and differentiate itself from among the growing throng of electronic exchanges, the New York Stock Exchange yesterday rolled out a new, free market data, news and alerting service for NYSE listed companies called Market Access Center."We've always had a portal [called NYSENet] for issuers, but it delivered mostly historical data," said Joseph M. Mecane, executive vice president and chief administrative officer, U.S. markets, NYSE Euronext, in a short interview on the Exchange floor last night. "We asked the issuers what additional information they would like to receive from us and they said they would value real-time data."
Specifically, the Market Access Center portal provides pricing data from North American exchanges and Dow Jones news feeds overlaid with a filtering logic that attempts to link only relevant news items with market data movements. (Developing the filtering mechanism to weed out inconsequential news was the hardest part of this joint NYSE/Sungard project, according to Theresa Molloy in the NYSE's global corporate client service group. "We wanted to avoid alert overload and email exhaustion," she said.) Users sign up for alerts that will be triggered when a stock price moves up or down 5% or more or when trade volume changes by a certain amount. So for instance, if Lehman's stock dropped 20% in one day, a user might get an email on his desktop or BlackBerry showing the change in price, a Dow Jones story about Lehman's bankruptcy, and a related analyst report headline (not the report itself, however). Alerts can also be set up to flag an analyst upgrade or downgrade of a stock. The Market Access Center platform is based on Sungard's Fame market news and data software and its Common Services Architecture, a service-oriented framework. Sungard is working to add additional news feeds to the portal.
Using the new portal, the chief financial officer or an investor relations officer at a listed company can set up news filters and alerts for his own company and up to eight groups of peers and/or competitors. For instance, an investor relations officer who has been beta-using the portal said last night that if his CEO called him to ask what's going on with the company's stock, he used to call his NYSE specialist, who would tell him how the stock was trading and any news or rumors he'd heard on the floor about it. For this investor relations officer, the NYSE's shift away from specialists toward electronic trading created a void. The Market Access Center fills that void and lets him track stock movements and news for his own company, companies in related industries and suppliers. "I can see a lot more information, faster," he said.
Complementing the portal, NYSE has also introduced a MAC Advisors service. This is a group of human beings, including a former market specialist and a former Lehman service rep, who can answer questions about stock movements and provide "color." Clients can call in to find out how an industry is faring, how a stock is performing relative to an index, or why an analyst downgraded a stock.
"For CFOs, the volume of market data and news can be overwhelming," Molloy says. "Our audience is trying to understand what's happening in the markets and how their company and its peers are affected."
Touring the NYSE trading floor late yesterday afternoon, I could perceive little change from my last visit about 16 months ago. The floor was crowded with traders noisily jostling each other and calling out to each other while frantically checking the overhead market data boards, talking to clients and scribbling down prices. The floor was covered with just as much if not more garbage than before, the closing bell ceremony was the usual cheerful chaos. Standing on that floor, I couldn't see the shadow that new, competing electronic exchanges and dark pools have cast over the NYSE. Perhaps with more initiatives like these, the NYSE will be able to outrun that shadow.