SEC OKs NYSE Merger 
The Securities and Exchange Commission has joined the U.S. Department of Justice in approving the merger of NYSE Euronext with Deutsche Boerse
The remaining hurdle: Obtaining approval from competition commissioners of the European Commission, due Feb. 9. 
The European antitrust authority appears on the brink of recommending that the merger not be approved. The panel's concern: That the merger of the two companies' European derivatives markets and clearing operations would create a monopoly.  
Deutsche Boerse operates Eurex Group, the second-largest derivatives market in the world, and NYSE Euronext operates NYSE Liffe, the third-largest. The two want to compete on a worldwide basis with CME Group, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange operator that is the number one derivatives marketplace extant. 
The combination would serve as a "gold standard" for the security and derivatives industry, Deutsche Boerse CEO Reto Francioni said in a keynote speech at the Global Securities Finance Summit Wednesday. "The new group would pose an attractive alternative to less transparent and unregulated alternative trading venues and dark pools, as well as in transparent over-the-counter trading," Francioni said. 
The merger partners have tried to appease regulators by saying they will sell off part of our single equity options and single stock futures business, institute an unprecedented opening up of DB's clearing subsidiary Eurex, and establish a three-year ceiling on base commissions on derivatives contracts. 

e ETFs Grow 20.6%; NYSE 
Claims Most New Listings 
The number of listed exchange-traded funds grew 20.6% in 2011 and the number of listed exchange-traded notes grew 53.8%, according to U.S. figures developed by the Exchange-Traded Fund Association
Separately, NYSE Euronext said it led the market in listings of new exchange-traded products, globally, in 2011, with more than 450 new exchange-traded notes, funds and vehicles. 
All told, there were 1,166 ETFs listed in the U.S. at the end of December, according to the ETF Association, up from 967 at the end of 2010 and 836 at the end of 2009. 
The number of listed ETNs reached 203, up from 132 in 2010 and 89 at the end of 209. ETFs with more than $100 million under management reached 495.  
Investors Venture Back Into Stock Mutual Funds  
Investors steered $1.43 billion into stock mutual funds during the week ended Jan. 11, breaking a near nine-month spell of investor redemptions that totaled more than $172 billion, according to statistics from the Investment Company Institute
Investors placed $753 million of the $1.43 billion into U.S. equity funds, with the remaining $681 million going into foreign stock funds. 
That's a big reversal from the previous week when investors withdrew $9.36 billion from stock funds. MME  

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