In terms of investing, time is a very real commodity. However, things seem to move at an increasingly frenetic pace in this day and age. Perhaps this is nowhere more apparent than on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). It is therefore ironic that this massive market stemmed from humble and interesting roots. Let’s take a look at 15 lesser-known facts which will shed new light on this financial juggernaut.

1. The earliest form of the NYSE was known as the Buttonwood Agreement. Signed on 17 May 1792 by 24 brokers, this document formally established the commission rates to be charged during the sales of commodities.

2. The term “Wall Street” actually has its roots in physical fact. The initial location of this famous road was situated close to a protective wall that was meant to keep out native Indian tribes. This term is currently used to describe a variety of financial transactions.

3. Many believe that Black Tuesday was the only major NYSE crash up until the financial crisis of 2008. In fact, the markets were forced to close for ten days in September 1873 by the failure of a single firm known as Jay Cooke & Company. This impacted the markets for the remainder of the decade.

4. As opposed to what many believe, the majority of trades take place electronically as opposed to on the trading floor of the NYSE itself. A growing number of individuals are now utilising platforms such as CMC Markets to streamline the process even further.

5. The universal term “ticker tape parade” was derived from the use of NYSE tickers to celebrate the opening of the Statue of Liberty in 1886. However, modern ticker tape parades consist of confetti and other pieces of paper.

6. The current NYSE building was completed in 1903 to accommodate for larger trading volumes. Figures set within its white marble facade are entitled “Integrity Protecting the Works of Man”.

7. There are more than 3,000 companies currently listed on the NYSE and it is estimated that their total market capitalisation is in excess of $15 trillion dollars.

8. When the New York Stock Exchange first opened in 1792, there were only five securities trading. Two of these were bank stocks and the remaining three were government bonds.

9. During the first half of the twentieth century, a seat within the NYSE was priced between $15,000 and $20,000 dollars. In 2015, a similar position sold for over $4 million dollars.

10. It is now possible for “flash crashes” to occur through high-frequency trading and the use of computer algorithms.

11. The NYSE is actually not the world’s first stock exchange. A similar system was invented in Antwerp in 1602.

12. Before the advent of the electronic ticker, most trading was performed underneath a buttonwood tree. This location is currently 68 Wall Street.

13. The original colloquial name for the NYSE was “The Curb” due to the majority of trades taking place at the side of the road.

14. The NYSE is actually a composite of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the NYSE composite.

15. During the first five hours of the stock market crash of 1929, the United States lost as much money as it had spent during the First World War.


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