The American Stock Exchange has denied a report that it might spin off its equities business to the New York Stock Exchange.

The New York Post reported this week that the American exchange was "considering turning into an options-only bourse" and selling its equities business to the New York exchange, which is enlarging its existing building.

The Post said the move was being considered because the number of companies listing their stocks with the American Exchange has declined. Such a move would undermine the recent efforts of chairman Richard Syron, who has campaigned to attract banks to the exchange that might otherwise list their shares on the National Association of Securities Dealers' system.

But a spokeswoman for the American exchange said the story was untrue. She said that a "substantial presence in both the equities and options markets" was one of the key strengths of the American Exchange.

A spokesman for the New York Stock Exchange said, "There are no discussions between the American Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange about the New York acquiring the American equities business."

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