Denver Qwest Communications International Inc. jumped from the Nasdaq stock market to the New York Stock Exchange on Monday in a move aimed at attracting global investors and lowering the volatility of the company's stock price.
Qwest, which specializes in broadband Internet and telecommunications systems, opened trading on the Big Board under the symbol Q. The only single-letter symbols remaining are I, M and V.
''The New York Stock Exchange is considered by many the premier exchange in the U.S., if not the world,'' said Tom Friedberg, senior research analyst at Janco Partners Inc. in Denver. ''The fact that you can get a single-letter symbol also gives the impression the stock is bullish.''
Shares of Qwest closed at $42.12 1/2, down 87 1/2 cents.
Qwest chairman and CEO Joseph Nacchio capped a morning ceremony that featured a laser-light show by ringing the opening bell to start the first trading day of 2000. His father, Frank Nacchio, bought the first 100 shares of Qwest under its new symbol.
''We were really happy with the Nasdaq. It's not that we were unhappy with the Nasdaq,'' Qwest spokesman Tyler Gronbach said. ''We're a global company. The NYSE is more of a global exchange. We wanted more access to global investors in all markets.''
Since going public in 1997, Qwest has become a major player in the telecommunications and Internet broadband industry, and is the fourth-largest long-distance provider in the United States. In 1998, it had $2.24 billion in revenue.
The Colorado Public Utilities Commission is expected to approve Qwest's proposed merger with U S West later this week. Shareholders signed off on the deal in the fall, but the merger still needs state and federal approval.
In moving from the Nasdaq, Nacchio said Qwest will be associated with other leading companies that make up the Standard & Poor's 500 a leading economic indicator. The move also should help reduce volatility for shareholders and increase visibility.
''It mirrors the evolution of the company from an emerging player to still an emerging player, but also a leader,'' Qwest's Jane Morrissey said.