The American Stock Exchange on Thursday confirmed that its board is evaluating a merger with the National Association of Securities Dealers, which operates the Nasdaq electronic trading system.

The Amex carried listings for 711 companies at yearend with average daily trading of 24 million shares, while the Nasdaq has listings for 5,487 companies with daily volume of 646 million shares. By contrast, the far larger New York Stock Exchange, has listings for 3,046 companies, including most of the nation's largest and best known.

Few banks are listed on Amex, which has a traditional auction floor in New York, but many regional banking companies are traded on Nasdaq.

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