The stock market fared poorly on Tuesday, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) saw significant losses. As of 2 p.m. EDT, the Nasdaq was down more than 1%, roughly in line with other major market benchmarks.
Many companies that are coming public for the first time choose the Nasdaq, as the exchange has a reputation for being a home for high-growth tech-savvy businesses with aspirations for excellence. Yet increasingly, a key element of the Nasdaq’s success has been the willingness of companies to move their listings away from the rival New York Stock Exchange. This trend is contributing to the Nasdaq’s strength and could well continue.
Big wins for the Nasdaq
In the first half of 2021, the Nasdaq had a huge role in the investment banking area. The exchange boasted 410 new initial public offerings, raising $106 billion in capital for listing companies. That was the highest since 2008, and it gave the Nasdaq the edge over its stock exchange rivals for the 30th straight quarter.
The Nasdaq got wins in every segment of the market. The exchange listed more than three-quarters of all operating companies going public during the period. Moreover, more than two-thirds of special purpose acquisition companies doing IPOs chose the Nasdaq, and some high-profile companies ended up choosing the Nasdaq after going public, including SoFi (NASDAQ:SOFI). The direct listing of cryptocurrency exchange giant Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN) was also a coup for the market.
One area that didn’t get quite as much attention was the fact that some major companies leading their respective industries made the move from the NYSE to the Nasdaq during the early part of 2021. Those companies included Honeywell (NASDAQ:HON) and Aurora Cannabis (NASDAQ:ACB), and each had different reasons for making the shift.
A change in corporate culture
For Honeywell, the move to the Nasdaq was clearly intended to indicate a shift in the company’s focus. Long seen as an industrial giant, Honeywell has increasingly emphasized its technological prowess. As CEO Darius Adamczyk explained when the company made the move, “Honeywell is the world’s premier software-industrial company, shaping the future of technology and sustainability.” Adamczyk further noted that the Nasdaq has a “long tradition of listing category-defining technology companies.”
That’s entirely consistent with Honeywell’s latest corporate strategy. The company has already made big investments in its Honeywell Forge software and digital solutions business. Moreover, it plans to take a major stake in a quantum-computing company, with the hope that it will quickly ramp up to represent a significant portion of Honeywell’s overall sales.
Saving some green
Meanwhile, for Aurora Cannabis, switching to the Nasdaq was also about saving cold hard cash. As CEO Miguel Martin explained in the company’s May announcement of the move, “This listing transfer will enable us to realize cost efficiencies.” Aurora was following several other cannabis stocks that had made similar switches recently, including Canopy Growth (NASDAQ:CGC).
For investors, whether a stock trades on the Nasdaq or the NYSE rarely makes a big difference. Both markets are accessible through brokers, with most brokerage institutions offering commission-free trading for both exchanges.
Yet as more companies try to position themselves as being innovative, fast-growing, and technologically forward-thinking, it’s likely that you’ll see additional shifts to the Nasdaq. As long as the exchange can maintain its reputation for fostering the leaders of tomorrow, the Nasdaq will keep attracting both newly public companies and well-established businesses looking to invigorate their prospects.
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.