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The Stock Market – History, Resources and Methods
History of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) The SEC Act of 1933 and 1934 was written and implemented primarily to protect public investors and to police all people associated with the equity markets, including:
1. Corporations issuing securities to the public
2. Exchanges and their members (floor traders)
3. Brokerage firms and their employees
They are all under the auspices and regulations of the SEC.
All member brokerage firms, broker dealers and individual members must abide by the rules and regulations of each exchange, in addition to SEC regulations.
National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD)
All members must abide by NASD rules and regulations in addition to SEC rules and regulations. These commissions, exchanges and associations were created to protect the individual, private investor and the general public.
Why There’s a Listed Market
A listed market is the only way to let everyone know where a stock is trading at a particular time.
The Original “Dow 12”
The original “Dow 12” consisted of the following companies:
American Cotton Oil
Distilling & Cattle Feeding Co.
Laclede Gas Light Co.
North American Co.
Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad
Note: the only one left is GE.
The 30 Dow Jones Industrial Components
The following companies comprise the Dow 30:
Johnson & Johnson
Procter & Gamble
How the Stock Exchange Works
Stocks are either listed on exchanges or are traded “over the counter.” On listed exchanges, each stock is assigned to the member of the exchange who has the obligation to maintain a fair and orderly market for the stock. These members are commonly referred to as “specialists.”
Specialists wear two hats. They buy and sell for their own account and execute trades for other brokers. They are allowed to be principals and agents at the same time. In order to keep a fair and orderly market, they are required to buy when there are no other buyers, and sell when there are no other sellers, using their own capital. They also bring buyers and sellers together where they trade the stock. The physical location on the exchange floor where the stock is traded is called a “post.”
Specialists are also required to display to the world the highest price that anyone is willing to pay for a stock (the “bid”) and the lowest price for which anyone is willing to sell a stock (the “offer”). They also must show the amount of shares that are being bid and offered at a particular price (the “size”).
NASDAQ (National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations) operates differently. They may have 10 to 20 different traders making markets in the stocks assigned to them. The requirements to be listed on an exchange are more stringent than are NASDAQ’s requirements.
NASDAQ is an electronic, computerized system of trading stocks run by the National Association of Securities Dealers. It was historically comprised of smaller, start-up companies that had to prove themselves sustainable and profitable before requesting to be listed on the American (AMEX) or New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
In the past, once these companies became large enough, they usually requested a listing on one of the older exchanges. This made the NASDAQ a good gauge of how stocks of smaller companies were doing. Today, however, not all of its larger companies have moved on to one of the other exchanges. Four companies, Microsoft, Intel, Dell Computer and Cisco Systems, collectively now comprise more than 25% of the composite market weighted value of the NASDAQ. As a result, the NASDAQ is not necessarily looked upon as the benchmark of smaller companies’ performances, as it once was.
The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) opened in April of 1973 off the main floor of the Chicago Board of Trade. The CBOE was launched as a securities exchange during a bear market and provided a secondary market (a place to trade a contract with someone other than the firm you bought that contract from) for option contracts while guaranteeing option trades. Prior to the opening of the CBOE, options were only traded “over the counter” and did not have standardized terms, as they do now.
If you don’t know a companies option symbol call your broker or order a book of symbols from the Options Clearing Corporation
You don’t need to know these codes to place orders as your broker will look them up. However sometimes you may need these codes to get a quote on a website. Understanding how these symbols work should alleviate some confusion.
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