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NASDAQ suspends rules for listing until January

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NEW YORK — The NASDAQ stock market has temporarily suspended certain trading requirements to help companies remain listed on the exchange and to ease the economic turmoil following this month's terrorist attacks.

The stock market, which lists more than 4,300 companies, said Thursday that the moratorium is effective until Jan. 2, 2002.

The move exempts companies from meeting minimum share price and public float requirements to stay listed on the exchange.Float refers to the number of outstanding shares available for trading by the public.

"It gives those companies that were on the cusp of delisting a chance to weather the uncertain times a little more," said NASDAQ spokesman Michael DeMeo.

The NASDAQ does not release the number of companies that face delisting, he said.

A company's shares must trade above a minimum price, usually a dollar, to stay listed on the NASDAQ. The minimum value of a public float of a company's shares varies.

Companies that fail to meet either requirement for 30 days are automatically notified they face delisting, but are given 90 days to comply with the regulations.

NASDAQ chairman and chief executive officer Wick Simmons said suspending the requirements will help stabilize the economy, which was already in bad shape before the Sept. 11 attacks in Washington and New York.

The uncertainty generated by the strikes has triggered tens of thousands of layoffs, sent stock prices to their lowest levels in years and shaken consumer spending.