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NASDAQ gives decimals a try

NEW YORK — The NASDAQ Stock Market started converting share prices to decimals from fractions on Monday in a pilot program that involves 15 stocks.

This is the first of two tests the NASDAQ is launching to prepare itself to switch all 5,000 of its stocks to decimals by the April 9 deadline set by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The second pilot program is slated to begin March 26 and will include an additional 177 stocks, according to a news release from NASDAQ.

The government mandated in 1997 that U.S. stock markets price their issues in decimals, saying investors would better understand a price of $10.63 than $10 5/8. Decimals also allow stocks to be traded in penny increments, no longer limiting them to halves, quarters, eighths and sixteenths.

The New York Stock Exchange converted all of its trading to decimals on Jan. 29.