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What Is the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)?


The New York Stock Exchange, or NYSE for short, is the world’s largest and most famous stock exchange. The total market capitalization of all of its listed securities totals over $25 trillion. The NYSE is located in downtown New York at 11 Wall Street, and it is owned by Intercontinental Exchange as a public entity. The trading floor facilitates the trading of billions of dollars in securities every day. If you need help deciding what to invest in or how to invest in stocks on the NYSE, consider working with a financial advisor.

What Is the New York Stock Exchange?

Nicknamed the “Big Board,” the New York Stock Exchange is the most prominent stock exchange on Earth and it stands as the largest stock exchange by market capitalization. In short, the NYSE is the setting in which various securities trades take place. When you trade a security that’s listed on the NYSE, the physical stock exchange handles that trade.

The NYSE is a building in lower Manhattan that is made up of 21 different rooms and a massive trading floor. While most trades are done electronically these days, the NYSE used to function through traders on the floor who would physically and verbally execute trades with other investors. Some larger transactions still rely on these in-person dealings on the floor of the exchange.

While the NYSE is a very significant piece of what we know today as the overall stock market, there are other stock exchanges around the world. For example, the U.S. is also home to the NASDAQ (which is also located in New York City) and Canada is home to the Toronto Stock Exchange. Europe’s most famous stock exchange is Euronext, and Asian stock exchanges include the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

History of the NYSE

The New York Stock Exchange was created in 1792 only a few years after the founding of the United States. It was officially established by 24 stockbrokers who signed the Buttonwood Agreement that year. The stock exchange currently lists a variety of securities, including both foreign and domestic stocks.

The NYSE has merged with multiple entities over the years. It absorbed the American Stock Exchange and merged with Euronext. It was then purchased by the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) in 2012.

The Opening and Closing Bells of the NYSE

The opening and closing bells are provided to mark the beginning and end of the trading day or the opening and closing of the public markets. The NYSE is open Monday through Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST. Prior to a bell being used by the exchange to mark the start and end of the day’s trading, a gavel was used.

Currently, the NYSE invites company executives to ring the bells on the exchange floor. It has become a tradition for any company that opens its IPO on the first day the stock is publically traded to ring the opening bell for the day. Prior to 1995, the bells were actually run by floor managers at the exchange. Other celebrities not directly related to a public company are sometimes invited to ring the bells as well.

NYSE Holidays

The NYSE is closed for nine holidays every year and the exchange closes early for other events from time to time, such as on Black Friday. Here are the holidays when the exchange is completely closed every year:

  • Martin Luther King Jr Day: 3rd Monday in January
  • President’s Day: 3rd Monday in February
  • Good Friday: Friday before Easter
  • Memorial Day: Last Monday in May
  • Juneteenth: June 19th
  • Independence Day: July 4th
  • Labor Day: First Monday in September
  • Thanksgiving: 4th Thursday in November
  • Christmas: December 25th

Keep in mind that if a holiday with a specific date falls on the weekend then the NYSE will close on the weekday that the holiday is recognized, similar to a bank holiday.

The Bottom Line

What Is the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)?

The NYSE is the most influential and famous stock exchange in the world. It is also the largest exchange by market capitalization. With a collective market capitalization of trillions of dollars and billions of dollars in trading volume processed every day, it’s no surprise. If you’re an avid investor, the NYSE is the place to be. When investing it’s important to keep the holidays in mind so you know when the markets will be closed.

Tips for Investing

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