This Day in History (8-Mar-1817) – The New York Stock Exchange is founded

In 17th century, Dutch settlers had built a wall to protect themselves from Red Indians, priates, and other dangers. The path had become a bustling commercial thoroughfare because it joined the banks of the East River with those of the Hudson River on the west in New York. The path was named Wall Street. In March 1792, twenty-four of New York City’s leading merchants met secretly at Corre’s Hotel to discuss ways to bring order to the securities business and to wrest it from their competitors, the auctioneers. They kept on meeting outside 68 Wall Street under a buttonwood tree. On May 17, 1792, gathered at the same place to sign an agreement that would establish the rules for buying and selling bonds and shares of companies. The agreement called for the signers to trade securities only among themselves, to set trading fees, and not to participate in other auctions of securities. The signers of the Buttonwood Agreement drafted their first constitution on March 8th, 1817, and named their nascent organization the New York Stock & Exchange Board.

In 1863, this name was shortened to its modern form, the New York Stock Exchange, which became known as the NYSE, one of the best-known financial industry brands in the world. The exchange rented a room at 40 Wall street and every morning the president, Anthony Stockholm, read the stocks to be traded. The exchange was an exclusive organization, new members were required to be voted in, and a candidate could be black-balled by three negative votes. In 1817 a seat on the exchange cost $25. Members wore top hats and swallowtail coats. Now the NYSE trading floor is located at 11 Wall Street.

The NYSE is owned by Intercontinental Exchange, an American holding company. NYSE is by far the world’s largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies at US$16.6 trillion as of Feb 2015.  Average daily trading value was approximately US$169 billion in 2013. In August 2014 NYSE saw Berkshire Hathaway’s A Class shares, the highest priced shares on the NYSE, hit $200,000 a share for the first time.



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