All Eyes on Silicon Valley for NASDAQ Opening

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC Bay Area
    Cypress Semiconductor is now listed on NASDAQ

    Members of the NASDAQ stock exchange are in Silicon Valley this week to open the market live from Cypress Semiconductor Thursday morning.

    Why Cypress? The company recently decided to switch its listing from the NYSE to the NASDAQ.  Its first trading day on the new exchange will be with the opening buzzer Thursday. It will retain its ticker symbol CY.

    This is not the first time the NASDAQ/OMX Marketplace has traveled to Silicon Valley. In August 2005, the market had its first remote open ever, at Cisco Systems to celebrate the company's 20th anniversary.

    Traveling with the television cameras, Lucite podium and exchange officials in their dark suits and white shirts, will be one pen. A very special pen. 

    It's about the size of a dry-erase marker. It's the electronic wand that allows the company executive -- in this case Cypress Semiconductor CEO T.J. Rodgers -- to sign his name to the opening buzzer. The signature will be transmitted electronically to NASDAQ's New York offices, where it will be displayed on a giant electronic sign in Times Square.

    While the act is purely ceremonial, it's one of the "signature" traditions to the market open. What's important to NASDAQ's Silvia Davi is that no one drop the special pen.  "We have more than one pen" she says, but only one on location. The pen, the podium and broadcast gear are all shipped out a few days before the ceremony.

    Truth be told, the entire market open is ceremonial. Unlike the New York Stock Exchange, which actually has a trading floor, the NASDAQ is a purely electronic marketplace. There's no need for a buzzer or bell or any signal.  At 6:30 a.m. PST Thursday, software somewhere allows trading to begin and it does so whether somebody uses that special pen or not.

    So, the bottom line: dozens of NASDAQ officials and hundreds of Cypress employees will show up before sunrise to officiate at something purely imaginary.  "[the remote openings] are symbolic ceremonies that bring together investors and market participants from around the world to trade electronically." says Davi.

     NBC Bay Area's Scott McGrew has live coverage of the event Thursday morning on NBC Bay Area News.