What Is the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)?

What Is the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)?

6 Min.

The NYSE, founded in 1792, is the world's biggest stock exchange by the market value of its listed securities. It was the first formal stock exchange in the US and is home to numerous of the longest-running publicly traded American businesses, known as the "Big Board." The exchange was acquired by the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) in 2013.


The New York Stock Exchange, commonly known as NYSE, is the world's largest equities-based exchange, situated in New York City. It transitioned from a private organization to a publicly traded entity on March 8, 2006, following its acquisition of the electronic trading exchange Archipelago. This transformation marked a significant shift in its operational structure. Subsequently, in 2007, NYSE merged with Euronext, Europe's largest stock exchange, forming NYSE Euronext. This entity was later acquired by Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (ICE), which currently serves as the parent organization of the New York Stock Exchange.

Exploring the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) 

Situated in New York City's financial district, the New York Stock Exchange, often called the "Big Board," comprises two distinct trading floors: one dedicated to equities and the other for the NYSE American options exchange. Both the primary edifices at 18 Broad St. and 11 Wall St. were officially designated as historical landmarks in 1978.

Traditionally, the NYSE heavily relied on floor trading, employing the open outcry system for many years. However, a significant portion of NYSE trades has since transitioned to electronic systems, with designated market makers (DMMs) playing a pivotal role in conducting both physical and automated auctions. The quotes provided by DMMs align closely with those offered by floor traders and other market participants.

Presently, the NYSE operates for trading purposes from Monday to Friday, commencing at 9:30 a.m. and concluding at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. It observes closures on specific US holidays, occasionally extending its closure to the preceding Friday when these holidays fall on a Saturday, or to the subsequent Monday when they fall on a Sunday.

The NYSE's Opening and Closing Traditions 

The NYSE inaugurates and concludes its trading day with distinctive ceremonies. The opening bell tolls at 9:30 a.m. ET, while the closing bell signals the end of trading at 4:00 p.m. ET. Interestingly, these rituals have evolved over time. In the late 1800s, a gavel, not a bell, signified the start and finish of trading days. It wasn't until 1903, when the NYSE relocated to 18 Broad St., that the bell officially took on this role.

Before 1995, floor managers rang the bells, but the NYSE began a practice of inviting corporate executives from listed companies to participate regularly, transforming it into a daily event. These executives often align their appearances with significant company milestones, like product launches, mergers, or acquisitions.

Moreover, public figures such as athletes and celebrities occasionally partake in this tradition. Notable individuals like singer/actor Liza Minnelli, Olympic medalist Michael Phelps, and rapper Snoop Dogg have had the honor. In a special moment, in July 2013, United Nations Secretary Ban Ki-moon rang the closing bell to commemorate the NYSE's membership in the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative.

NYSE's Historical Journey 

The New York Stock Exchange roots trace back to May 17, 1792, when 24 stockbrokers in New York City gathered at 68 Wall St. to sign the Buttonwood Agreement. This momentous occasion marked the inception of the NYSE, commencing with a modest portfolio of five securities, including three government bonds and two bank stocks.

Benefiting from its early establishment as the primary US stock exchange, the NYSE boasts some of the oldest publicly traded companies. The lengthiest listing on the NYSE belongs to Consolidated Edison (ED), which first joined as the New York Gas Light Company in 1824. In addition to American corporations, foreign-based firms can seek listing on the NYSE, provided they adhere to specific listing criteria. This policy broadens the exchange's global reach.

The NYSE's remarkable growth into a global powerhouse is attributed to a series of strategic mergers. It initially began as NYSE, later merging with Euronext and incorporating the American Stock Exchange. In a significant development, NYSE Euronext was acquired by the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) in a substantial $11 billion transaction in 2013. The subsequent year witnessed Euronext's emergence from ICE through an initial public offering (IPO). Nevertheless, ICE retained ownership of the NYSE, solidifying its enduring presence.

Key Milestones in NYSE's History 

  • 1929: The most severe stock market crash in US history commenced on Black Thursday, October 24, and escalated into a panic-driven sell-off on Black Tuesday, October 29. This crash followed the London Stock Exchange's September crash and heralded the Great Depression, impacting Western industrialized nations.
  • 1934: On October 1, the NYSE registered with the SEC for national securities exchange status.
  • 1987: October 19 witnessed the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) plunging by 508 points, a loss of 22.6%, in a single day.
  • 2001: The 9/11 attacks prompted a four-day halt in trading at the NYSE, resuming on September 17. The five days following reopening saw losses of around $1.4 trillion, marking the most considerable losses in NYSE history.
  • 2008: NYSE Euronext successfully acquired the American Stock Exchange for $260 million in stock in October.
  • 2010: On May 6, the DJIA experienced its most substantial intraday drop since the October 19, 1987 crash, plummeting 998 points in what is now known as the 2010 Flash Crash.
  • 2012: ICE proposed an $8 billion stock swap to acquire NYSE Euronext on December 20.
  • 2014: The NYSE settled market rule violation charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission, resulting in a $4.5 million fine on May 1.
  • 2018: Stacey Cunningham made history on May 25, becoming the first female president of the NYSE.
  • 2020: March 16 marked the DJIA's largest daily point drop in history, plummeting 2,997.10 points due to COVID-19 pandemic fears, ranking as the third-worst day percentage-wise.
  • 2020: On March 23, the NYSE temporarily closed floor trading amid the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for electronic operations.
  • 2020: March 24 saw the DJIA achieve its most substantial one-day point gain in anticipation of a stimulus relief bill, ranking as the fifth-best day percentage-wise.


The New York Stock Exchange, founded under a buttonwood tree in Manhattan, is the United States' oldest and most prominent securities exchange. It also is the world's largest stock exchange by total market capitalization of its listed companies. As a symbol of Wall Street's essence, the NYSE continues to host the nation's most significant publicly traded corporations and retains its esteemed status as the foremost arena for stock trading.

New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
Intercontinental Exchange (ICE)
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