It's not Red Sox versus Yankees quite yet, but the rivalry between the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq is expected to heat up in the coming year.

With the long-awaited approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission finally on the horizon, a Reuters report says, the Nasdaq will be able to confidently move ahead with its intentions to grab more market share through further consolidation. And according to SEC Chairman William Donaldson, it's a development that will improve the health if the markets altogether.

"I do not agree, as some may fear, that the consolidations represent the death knell for competition among markets," Donaldson told the Senate Banking Committee, adding that he also expects that smaller, innovative stock markets will continue hold their own against their larger counterparts.

"The battle for market share in NYSE stock promises to be quite heated. I anticipate a continuation of the long-standing battle for market share in Nasdaq stocks."

Donaldson told the committee that he expects approval of the Nasdaq's application "very shortly." Approval has been held up for several years because of SEC objections to the way the Nasdaq handles price priority and the reporting of over-the-counter trades.

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