The New York Stock Exchange, both the name and the building, is one of the most well known institutions in the financial world. The importance of the stock exchange is seen daily in its effect on world commerce and banking. There are many interesting facts and numbers associated with the stock exchange, including its size and various historical aspects.
The New York Stock Exchange is the largest exchange in terms of capitalized trading volume and is five times the size of NASDAQ in capitalization, although the exchange is the fourth largest in listings behind the Bombay, London and NASDAQ exchanges. As of 2010, Microsoft and Intel were the only two Dow Jones Industrial Average companies not listed on the exchange. There were 2,764 companies listed on the NYSE.
The New York Stock Exchange has existed since May 17, 1792, when 24 brokers and merchants signed the Buttonwood Agreement. Incorporation as an entity didn't occur until February 18, 1971. While the NYSE is one of the oldest exchages in the U.S., it is not the oldest; the Philadelphia Stock Exchange is two years older. The stock exchange started as a group of traders, then became an unincorporated membership, then a non-profit organization and finally a for-profit company over the course of 214 years. The exchange is currently part of NYSE/Euronext as of 2007.
Stock tickers were introduced in 1867 with their invention by Edward Calahan. The first telephone was installed 11 years later with electric lights arriving five years later in 1883. The electronic ticker displays didn't arrive until 1966, the same years as pagers. Various systems began to be implemented after 1976: Designated Order Turnaround (1976); Intermarket Trading (1978); Electronic Display Book (1983); and SuperDot 250 (1984). The NYSE integrated wireless networks in 1997 and direct Internet access in 2000. Mutual funds arrived with the inclusion of the Massachusetts Investors Trust in 1924; the first fund to include stocks and bonds was the Wellington Fund in 1928, one year before the start of the Great Depression. Index funds would not be included until 1971 when Wells Fargo Bank would establish the practice.
There are a few historic firsts that the NYSE is a part of. The first woman to have a seat was Muriel Siebert in 1967. The first African-American joined shortly after when Joseph L. Searles III became a member in 1970. Merrill Lynch became the first organized business to join in 1971.
The first listed company of the exchange was the Bank of New York in 1792. The first company to incorporate while a member was Woodcock, Hess & Company in 1953. The first member to be publicly traded was Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette in 1970, while the first member company to be listed on the NYSE (the non-profit organization) was Merrill Lynch. The highest price paid for membership was $4,000,000 in December 2005 while the lowest membership fee was $2,750 in 1871. The longest listed company on the exchange is Con Edison, which started in 1824 as New York Gas Light Company. Sotheby's, founded in 1744, is the oldest organized company on the exchange.
The biggest single-day jump on the exchage occured on March 16, 2000 when the exchange increased 499.19 points. This would be followed in 2008 by the largest single-day drop of 777.68 points on September 29, 2008, triggering what was to become the Flash Crash.
- new york stock exchange image by Gary from Fotolia.com