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Thursday, November 4, 1999 Published at 07:50 GMT

Business: The Economy

UK launches Nasdaq rival

Techmark will aim to emulate the highly successful Nasdaq index

The UK's answer to the Nasdaq technology oriented stock exchange - Techmark - has been launched.

Techmark comprises 181 member companies drawn from the telecoms, IT, pharmaceutical and science sectors.

It is London's equivalent of the successful Nasdaq exchange, which, although highly volatile, has been setting records and briefly broke through the 3000 mark on Tuesday.

[ image: Gordon Brown launched the new market]
Gordon Brown launched the new market
Technology stocks are booming, and it is a sector which the government and the City of London are keen to see attract investment.

Techmark is designed to meet the investment needs of technology companies already listed on the main London market and others planning to float, as well as giving them a higher profile.

It operates as a "market within a market", with companies listed on it also being listed on the main market.

Launching Techmark on Wednesday evening, the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, said it was "a new market for the new generation of dynamic entrepreneurs whose success depends upon innovation.

"Bringing together companies with a shared commitment to technological innovation, Techmark emphasises the importance of new technology.

Better investor access

"By including FTSE fledgling companies alongside FTSE 100 companies, it recognises that the new companies of today can be the leading companies of tomorrow."

Mr Brown said Techmark would give new companies a quicker route to the main market and wider access to investors to help them grow at a faster pace.

The BBC's Liz George: "The London Stock Market is finally getting in on the act"
By having a seperate market for technology stocks, investors can compare each company's performance against the technology market as a whole.

The member companies range from industry giants such as BT, computer services company Sema and software company Sage - all already in the FTSE 100 - to relative market newcomers such as Cambridge-based chip design firm ARM Holdings.

The London Stock Exchange announced plans to launch TechMark in September.

The Exchange's chief executive, Gavin Casey, said Techmark would give "innovative technology companies greater visibility and profile".

"Techmark is part of our long-term drive to support younger, fast growing companies," Mr Casey said.

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