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AOL leaves wilds of Nasdaq

America Online is defecting from Nasdaq in search of calmer waters on the New York Stock Exchange.

Frustrated by wild swings in its stock price, leading online service America Online is defecting from the Nasdaq market in search of calmer waters on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company, which has seen its shares slide more than 55 percent since May, hopes that its stock price will steady under the NYSE's specialist system, according to a story in today's Wall Street Journal. The company has not disclosed a date for the switch.

AOL's defection is fueling rumors of more high-level desertions from technology-laden Nasdaq. The market has come under fire recently as government regulators investigate its dealers' trading practices.

A Nasdaq spokesman told the Journal that he does not expect any additional defections to the Big Board, beyond the usual fluctuations. So far this year, 32 companies have made the shift. Last year, a record 62 companies transferred to the NYSE.

Coincidentally, high-tech investment banking firm Hambrecht & Quist, which has taken 16 companies public on Nasdaq this year, will list its own initial public offering on the NYSE. The company refused to comment on the move, according to the Journal.

While Nasdaq is still home to some of the largest and most successful high-tech companies, including Microsoft, Intel, Sun Microsystems, Oracle, and other firms, many financial officers and investors are becoming concerned with the market's increasing volatility. The market's instability is driving some investors, growing wary of narrow profit margins and intensifying competition, out of high-tech stocks.