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Nasdaq 100 Stock Starts Trading

Adding to its growing army of index-based stocks and options, the American Stock Exchange listed a stock to track the Nasdaq 100 Index on Wednesday.

The tracking stock lists under the ticker symbol "QQQ" and represent ownership in the Nasdaq 100 TrustSM, a unit investment trust that will closely track the movement in the Nasdaq 100 Index. Shares opened at $102.25.

The exchanges originally planned on listing the stock under the "Q" ticker symbol, but the New York Stock Exchange objected.

The Nasdaq 100 Index, which rose 85 percent in 1998 and is up 7.3 percent so far this year, is comprised of the biggest nonfinancial stocks on Nasdaq's National Market.

The 100 companies that make up the index include leading high-tech, airline, retail and health companies, such as Amazon.com, Yahoo, Cisco Systems, Dell Computer, Intel, Microsoft, MCI WorldCom, Nordstrom, Staples, Starbucks and Northwest Airlines.

The latest addition to the Nasdaq 100 Index is AtHome Corp. (ATHM), which replaced Tele-Communications Inc.

The tracking stock will be priced at one-twentieth the value of the Nasdaq 100.

"The introduction of the Nasdaq 100 Index tracking stock is emblematic of what prompted Nasdaq and Amex to join forces in the first place," said Richard F. Syron, chairman and chief executive officer of the American Stock Exchange.

The exchanges, which announced a merger last year, said the Amex also expects to list options for the new tracking stock on Wednesday.

Amex popularized the index tracking stock concept in 1993, with the launch of the so-called "SPDRs" (pronounced "spiders") which track the S&P 500. The exchange last year added "Diamonds," which mimic the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Written By Darren Chervitz, CBS MarketWatch

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