When Nasdaq OMX Group Chief Executive Robert Greifeld took the stage at an event at his company’s Times Square office this week, he said the frequently cited high levels of volatility are a myth.
“When you look at this year, you really had one month of high volatility and that was August,” Greifeld said during an onstage interview at the Financial Women’s Association holiday party.
Volatility was low before August, Greifeld said, and returned to lower levels in September. “When you look at the actual numbers, the markets have not been that volatile this year,” he said.
Greifeld’s comments came during what could shape up as an eventful week for his company. On Tuesday, Jive Software, a social networking company for businesses, had its initial public offering on Nasdaq’s exchanges and rose 25% from its original offering price in its first day, closing at $15.05. Social gaming company Zynga is also scheduled to have its public debut on the Nasdaq later this week.
Greifeld predicted that Jive’s IPO could be “very hot,” and Zynga may have a market capitalization of $10 million or more. Still, he said, investors should not read too much into the concentration of this week’s IPO events.
“I wouldn’t fixate on that too much because you could have everything come together in a week, and I think that’s more the case,” Greifeld said. “You see that the IPO market is doing better than the overall market, but it’s still not where you want it to be and it’s still not as good as 2007.”
Greifeld acknowledged that he would like to have Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg on speed dial to woo his company to the Nasdaq if and when it does go public. But Greifeld also said that the ultimate decision makes less of a difference to his company than it did 10 years ago. That is because if Facebook decides not to list on the Nasdaq, the exchange will still trade a large number of its shares, he said.
New changes to the exchanges have also made it less possible that another flash crash will happen, Greifeld said, though there is still work to be done. Nasdaq has supported a limit up/limit down concept for futures trading that prevents more trading from happening when prices reach a certain high or low, he said. But the possibility that a flash crash can happen is not likely to stop market participants.
“If an investor believes they can make money, they are going to invest, no doubt about it,” Greifeld said.
Lorie Konish writes for On Wall Street.