Bart Ward

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange has its roots in the Chicago Produce Exchange, which was formed in 1874. By 1898 the Butter and Egg Board becomes a division of the produce exchange. It was out of the Butter and Egg Board that the Chicago Mercantile Exchange was actually formed.

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Ticker symbols (tic symbol) are part of the folklore of Wall Street. They were originally developed in the 1800s by telegraph operators, who reserved one‑letter symbols for the most active stocks to conserve wire space. Railroads were the dominant issues at the time, so they had the majority of the one‑letter designations.

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The long-running editorials, bank fines and regulatory investigations into Wall Street bankers and their performance prior to the 2008 housing bust has a lot to be desired. The continued investigations and fines do not surprise me. In fact, I have harped in this column over the decades that in keeping with past Wall Street history, once a bubble bursts and people lose big money, then and only then does a clamor go out looking for authorities to investigate.

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Knowing whether you are in a bull (up) market or bear (down) market solves half the problem in selecting stocks because the general market influences most stocks. If the Dow Jones Industrial Average goes into a major downtrend, you can expect three out of four stocks to follow.

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Investors most often use bonds to provide a steady income. They buy a bond when it’s issued or in the secondary market and hold it, expecting to receive regular, fixed interest payments until the bond matures. Then they get the principal back to reinvest.

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Americans have more money invested in bonds than in stocks, mutual funds or other types of securities. One of the major appeals is that bonds pay a set amount of interest on a regular basis. That is why they’re called fixed-income securities. Additionally, the issuer of a bond promises to repay the loan in full and on time. So bonds seem less risky than investments that depend on the ups and downs of the stock market.

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The phrases “short-term overbought” and “oversold” are terms that are applied to the stock market. They are avidly followed by some investors as a means to determine the short-term direction of the stock market. Sometimes they are projected incorrectly to the long-term trend, which can be a huge mistake.

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This column has quoted members of the Rothschild family from time to time. Most of us at one time or another has heard of this family. Who were they and what did they do? In short, they were one of the most renowned private families in Europe and one of the greatest Jewish families of modern times. They helped shape nations, empires and industries in the 19th century.

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“Money & Power!” Sounds like a book, and it is. I just recently reread this book, which was written in 2002 by Howard Means and was based on a CNBC documentary about the history of business.

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