James Moore: LSE defies the downturn

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The Independent Online

Outlook One business that has proved more resilient through the recession than might have been expected is the London Stock Exchange.

The LSE has more than its fair share of knockers, partly because, in many ways, it resembles a utility company for the City and utilities are seldom popular. But there are also a goodly number of people who still seem to feel that the exchange should call them in for fine wine and cake every five minutes so they can pontificate about how it should be running its business. They were happy to pocket the (considerable) proceeds from its demutualisation, but don't like the fact that they are now customers rather than members.

These people were rubbing their hands with glee when a group of investment banks got together to form Chi-X, which was supposed to filch the majority of the trading over the LSE's markets. But even had it done that (and it hasn't) the LSE has still been doing just fine. While flotations have all but evaporated, the revenue derived from them has been replaced by rights issues (as yesterday's Q1s showed).

And with a substantial number of companies waiting to join the market as soon as conditions have stabilised, this is a company that looks to have a fair wind behind it.