West Coast brokers aren't eager for longer trading day


LOS ANGELES -- The prospect of waking up a half-hour earlier isn't exactly wowing Los Angeles area brokers and traders -- especially when they already must get ready for work in the middle of the night.

The earlier hours are the result of this week's decision by the New York Stock Exchange to begin trading 30 minutes earlier, at 6 a.m. (9 a.m. New York time).

The change, scheduled to begin Sept. 9, is being made to recapture trading now done on the London and Tokyo exchanges.

For West Coast traders, the 30-minute extension means regular floor trading will last from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. Coupled with after-hours sessions implemented by the NYSE three weeks ago, the trading day will last until 2:15 p.m. -- eight hours and 15 minutes of action.

But managers and traders of West Coast firms said that for them, it probably won't mean more business, just an earlier commute. Brokers at Los Angeles area investment firms need to report to work around 4:30 a.m. for the early opening, traders said.

"I recommend drinking one cup of coffee and [eating] a bowl of corn flakes as the best preparation," said Robert Meier, a Wedbush Morgan Securities Inc. trader.

Mr. Meier has answered an even earlier 3:30 a.m. bell at Wedbush's Hawaii office for the last 10 years.

"It helps that I have no social life to speak of and don't drink or smoke," he said.

"The extension of trading hours is of minimal benefit and imposes cost and inconvenience [on regional firms]," said Roland Seidler, founder and chairman of Seidler Amdec Securities Inc. in Los Angeles.

Mr. Seidler said that the concerns of area firms were made clear to NYSE President Richard A. Grasso during a meeting three weeks ago, but nothing came of it.

Mr. Grasso declined to be interviewed yesterday.

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