The Securities and Exchange Commission is looking at an early March timetable in which to offer companies guidance on stock option expensing. According to The Wall Street Journal, SEC chief accountant Don Nicolaisen said that the regulator is close to making a decision on how much leeway to grant companies in applying the options-expensing standards. "But in early March, we'd like to be in a position to at least express key views on what our thinking is," Nicolaisen said. The protracted battle to expense options has come under intense lobbying pressure from pro-options groups, the high-tech sector and lawmakers with large constituencies affected by the options rule issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board. Last year, the House, led by Rep. Richard Baker, R-La., overwhelmingly passed its own version of options expensing that requires that options be expensed only for a company's top five executives. Last fall, some 50 senators requested that the SEC delay implementing the rule until the regulator could provide valuation guidance.

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