What Is the Philadelphia Stock Exchange (PHLX)?

What Is the Philadelphia Stock Exchange (PHLX)?

3 Min.

The Board of Brokers, also known as the Philadelphia Stock Exchange (PHLX), was established in 1790 and became the first official securities exchange in the United States. In 1975, PHLX introduced PACE, an electronic system for stock order routing and execution, making it one of the first exchanges to adopt electronic trading. Presently, the exchange's main areas of focus are equity, currency, and index options rather than stock trading.


Founded in Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Stock Exchange has a distinguished legacy dating back to 1790. While it originated as the inaugural official securities exchange in the United States, its contemporary operations have evolved to prioritize equity, currency, and index options trading rather than conventional stock transactions.

Evolution of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange (PHLX)

Originally named the Board of Brokers, the PHLX holds the distinction of being the United States' inaugural formal securities exchange, preceding the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) by a span of two years. A pivotal moment in its history arrived in 1975 when the exchange adopted pioneering electronic trading and introduced the Philadelphia Automated Communication and Execution System (PACE). This revolutionary system interconnected computers, ushering in instant electronic order execution. The PHLX ventured into currency options in 1982, swiftly achieving remarkable daily trading volumes of up to $4 billion in underlying value within six years. In 2004, the exchange transformed from a seat-based, cooperative entity to a share-based, for-profit company, marking a significant milestone in its evolution.

In 2008, the Nasdaq OMX Group, now known as Nasdaq Inc., acquired the PHLX and rebranded it as Nasdaq PHLX. The exchange's primary focus shifted to options trading. Presently, Nasdaq PHLX manages a diverse portfolio encompassing over 2600 U.S. dollar-settled options, sector index options, and equity options. It is the third-largest options market in the United States, commanding a formidable 17% market share.

Diverse Index Offerings at PHLX

The PHLX is renowned as the home of numerous influential sector indexes, such as the widely tracked PHLX KBW Bank Index (BKX), the PHLX Gold/Silver Sector Index (XAU), and the PHLX Semiconductor Sector Index (SOX). While these indexes are not available for direct trading, investors can engage with them through options trading.

The exchange plays a crucial role in calculating and disseminating real-time pricing data for various sector indexes, each represented by a unique name and ticker symbol. These symbols also serve as the foundation for their corresponding options:

  • PHLX KBW Bank Index (BKX)
  • PHLX KBW Insurance Index (KIX)
  • PHLX KBW Mortgage Finance Index (MFX)
  • PHLX KBW Regional Banking Index (KRX)
  • PHLX Chemical Sector Index (XCM)
  • PHLX Defense Sector Index (DFX)
  • PHLX Drug Sector Index (RXS)
  • PHLX Europe Sector Index (XEX)
  • PHLX Gold/Silver Sector Index (XAU)
  • PHLX Housing Sector Index (HGX)
  • PHLX Marine Shipping Sector Index (SHX)
  • PHLX Medical Device Sector Index (MXZ)
  • PHLX Oil Service Sector Index (OSX)
  • PHLX Retail Sector Index (XRE)
  • PHLX Semiconductor Sector Index (SOX)
  • PHLX Sports Sector Index (SXP)
  • PHLX Utility Sector Index (UTY)
  • SIG Gaming Index (SGV)
  • SIG KCI Coal Index (SCP)
  • SIG Oil Exploration & Production Index (EPX)
  • SIG Railroad Index (SRW)
  • SIG Steel Producers Index (STQ)


Established in 1790 as the Board of Brokers, the Philadelphia Stock Exchange made history as the first U.S. securities exchange. It embraced electronic trading in 1975 by introducing the Philadelphia Automated Communication and Execution System. PHLX has transitioned its focus to equity, currency, and index options, departing from traditional stock trading. In 2004, it became a for-profit entity and was later acquired by Nasdaq Inc. in 2008, becoming Nasdaq PHLX. Today, it ranks as the third-largest U.S. options market, with a notable 17% market share. PHLX also houses influential sector indexes like PHLX KBW Bank Index and PHLX Semiconductor Sector Index, accessible through options trading, reinforcing its significance in the financial realm.

Philadelphia Stock Exchange (PHIX)
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