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Deal Chatter Lifts Nasdaq

Shares of Nasdaq Stock Market rise late before being halted.

Shares of the

Nasdaq Stock Market

I:IXIC

shot up 2.3% on speculation that the exchange is getting ready to make an acquisition.

Nasdaq is expected to announce a deal on Friday to purchase OMX Group, the operator of several Nordic exchanges, according to

Reuters

. A Nasdaq spokesman declined to comment. Shares of the exchange were halted late Thursday.

Shares of the OMX trading on the Stockholm exchange had been halted earlier in the day. The company said that more information about the trading halt would be released on Friday,

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Reuters

said.

OMX operates stock exchanges in Helsinki, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Iceland, Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius.

Investors have been waiting for Nasdaq to take part in the consolidation of the exchange sector, as nearly all the major exchanges in the U.S. are involved in some sort of tie-up at this point.

The news is also particularly poignant since the electronic exchange failed in its bid to purchase the London Stock Exchange in February. Nasdaq still owns a 30% interest in the London bourse.

The OMX has also attempted to pair up with the LSE in the past, but LSE management rebuked the offer.

Like the Nasdaq, the OMX is looking for "a better listings presence," says Jamie Selway, a managing director at White Cap Trading in New York. "The two exchanges are culturally kind of similar -- and both share an interest in the LSE."

Nasdaq rose 79 cents to $33.98.