Have you seen pictures of the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and wondered what is going on down there? It may seem chaotic to a visitor with people taking calls at phones, brokers gathered at trading posts, pages pushing through the crowd and electronic equipment everywhere. While it may seem disorganized, the operations that occur on the floor are orderly and systematic as all get out.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.