With an assortment of wall-mounted fauna peering down, the National Association of Securities Dealers threw a luncheon at the 21 Club to ballyhoo the 1,000th firm listed on the NASDAQ National Market System.
The advertising firm of Ogilvy & Mather International drew the honor, but the occasion was used to highlight the globalization of the markets and NASDAQ's increasingly competitive posture.
''We have 288 foreign issues on NASDAQ already, the largest number of foreign issues on a major US equity market,'' said NASD president Gordon S. Macklin. This is up from 208 foreign listings in 1980, and compares to 96 on the New York Stock Exchange and American Stock Exchange, according to Securities and Exchange Commission chairman John Shad.
In terms of share volume, ''NASDAQ has become the third largest continuous-transaction reporting market (in the world),'' said Mr. Shad.
The Big Board still handles some 86 percent of the listed equity trading in the US. Some observers say the NYSE has passively watched as this over-the-counter upstart has grown. Nonetheless, there are signs that the NYSE is indeed aware of the challenge to attract firms here and abroad.
The exchange plans to review the restrictions placed on listed companies this week, according to a Wall Street Journal article on Tuesday. Analysts speculate the listing requirements may be loosened to give the NYSE a more competitive edge. The London exchange is taking similar steps. At the luncheon, Mr. Shad said London is headed toward abolishing fixed commissions and allowing more foreign investment.
And last week it was announced that for the first time in the NYSE's 192-year history it will be open on election day. The move, said Mr. Shad, is recognition of a broader world market.
The rise of the NASDAQ National Market System (NMS) has been carefully orchestrated. In 1975, Congress mandated that the SEC move toward a automated central market system. Many saw the already computerized NASDAQ as a natural starting point. But it wasn't until April 1982 that a real-time computer trading system, the NMS, began. Theoretically, the NMS will eventually add AMEX and NYSE listed stocks to the over-the-counter issues now traded.