The New York Stock Exchange

It could be said that the New York Stock Exchange was ‘founded’ in 1792 under a buttonwood tree. It was May 17th of that year when 24 stock brokers signed the Buttonwood Agreement on Wall Street. The original name was the New York Stock & Exchange Board, but this was abbreviated to the New York Stock Exchange in 1863. The New York Stock Exchange quickly gained in strength, thanks in part to the first elected president, Anthony Stockholm.

The New York Stock Exchange has survived many catastrophes over the years. The New York Stock Exchange was forced to close soon after the beginning of World War 1, for obvious reasons. This did not stay the case as the New York Stock Exchange was re-opened a few months later to boost the sagging economy.

Disaster struck the New York Stock Exchange again in 1920 when a terrorist bomb was set off just outside of the New York Stock Exchange building on Wall Street. Over 30 people were killed, and hundreds injured, as a result of this attack on the New York Stock Exchange. You can still see evidence of the bombing today on the façade of the New York Stock Exchange building.

A less obvious event occurred on the New York Stock Exchange in 1929, but this was just as deadly to the economy. October 24th was dubbed Black Thursday as it was the day of the New York Stock Exchange crash. A massive sell-off of stocks, started two days before, is often credited for being the catalyst for the Great Depression.

In 1967, an unusual protest occurred within the halls of the New York Stock Exchange. A protest group, led by Abbie Hoffman, managed to may their way into the New York Stock Exchange. They then proceeded to throw mainly fake money down to the New York Stock Exchange traders on the trading floor, who went after the money thinking it was real. The group was attempting to show that the New York Stock Exchange traders were doing nothing more than chasing after money. Needless to say, the New York Stock Exchange installed strict security measures after that.

It was another near crash on the New York Stock Exchange in 1997 that eventually prompted the institution of the circuit breaker rule. This states that the New York Stock Exchange would close for the day if the Dow Jones Industrial Average drops below 30%. The temporary closure would allow New York Stock Exchange investors to start fresh and perhaps make more informed decisions.

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