News In Brief

Trading on the Nasdaq costs investors more than dealing on the New York Stock Exchange, according to a preliminary finding in a study by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the electronic edition of The Wall Street Journal reported. The newspaper called the study a potentially major public-relations setback for the Nasdaq. The Journal, citing sources familiar with the matter, said the study suggests the disparity is due to differences between a "dealer" market (Nasdaq) and an "auction" market (the NYSE), which seeks to eliminate the middleman. Although the study apparently doesn't accuse Nasdaq dealers of improper behavior, its economists still have been arguing with the SEC over the report's methodology and preliminary conclusion, the Journal said.

In major transactions:

* Shire Pharmaceutical Group PLC said it would acquire Laval, Quebec-based BioChem Pharma Inc. for $4 billion in stock. Shire, with headquarters in East Anton, England, specializes in drug marketing.

* In a deal valued at $2.5 billion, telecommunications giant Vodafone reportedly will announce next week it's buying a 15 percent stake in Japan Telecom, the second-largest investment in that country by a foreign company. Rival British Telecom and the US's AT&T also hold 15 percent interests in Japan Telecom.

* Technicolor, the world's largest supplier of packaged CDs, film, videotapes, and DVDs (digital versatile discs), was sold by Carlton Communications PLC to Thomson Multimedia for $2.1 billion, the companies announced. Carlton is based in London. Thomson Multimedia, of Boulogne Cedex, France, manufactures electronics for the consumer market and professional video industry.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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