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Somebody please explain the chaos at the NYSE

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Old 04-25-2008, 12:58 PM   #1
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Somebody please explain the chaos at the NYSE

This is something that I have tried to understand for years. It finally crossed my mind again today while watching one of those investment commercials. How does anything get accomplished with all of that yelling? Why cant they (the leg men) just perform their jobs from computers?
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Old 04-25-2008, 01:39 PM   #2
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Re: Somebody please explain the chaos at the NYSE

I have wondered this exact same thing.
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Old 04-25-2008, 01:49 PM   #3
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Re: Somebody please explain the chaos at the NYSE

Actually it's far less chaotic than it really seems. If look you closely, you'll notice those guys (floor traders) all wear different color jackets and are handling specific securities/orders for specific firms. So what they can and cannot do is already defined. So that takes a lot of the confusion out of what they're roles actually are. Much of it has become more automated over the years.

The NASDAQ and the NYSE operate differently. The NYSE (which you probably saw on the commercial) is a physical location or exchange, while the NASDAQ is an automated/electronic exchange that trade stocks.

So stocks that trade on the NASDAQ (National Association Securities Dealer Automated Quotation) are completely automated and computer driven. You call your broker to sell 100 shares of Microsoft at the market (first available price), he/she punches that order into his computer and it's automatically excuted at whatever the market is asking/bidding at the moment. So it happens instantly.

NYSE, same scenerio, different company. These guys (floor traders, brokers, and Specialists) don't take the order for your 100 shares of company ABC. In this instance, they're handling bulk orders of that same stock. Say maybe 100,000 shares of ABC. It's then walked over to another post, and again, the bidding price and asking price is determined by another guy wearing a different color jacket. The orders are pretty much matched up right there (simplifying it some) and the price of the stock is set. So forth and so on throughout the day.
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Old 04-27-2008, 10:47 AM   #4
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Re: Somebody please explain the chaos at the NYSE

Here's a nice primer on commodities trading:

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Old 04-28-2008, 12:04 PM   #5
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Re: Somebody please explain the chaos at the NYSE

Those helped a little, but I am still no expert. Thanks guys.
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Old 04-28-2008, 12:41 PM   #6
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Re: Somebody please explain the chaos at the NYSE

I think allot of that is just tradition more than anything else. Its those people that are freaking out everytime something happens and bidding up the price of gas.
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