Everyone knows about the great crash in 1929, how we first coined the term Black Thursday (Oct 24th), Black Monday (Oct 28), and Black Tuesday (Oct 29)… but did you know that the Dow Jones Industrial Average wouldn’t recover to the 1929 peak until 1954? It took twenty-five years. Given the recent volatility and how records are being broken, I thought it would be appropriate to fire off some more stock market trivia facts.
Wall Street Firsts
- Wall Street was laid out behind a 12-foot-high wood stockade across lower Manhattan in 1685. The stockade was built to protect the Dutch settlers from British and Native American attacks.
- The “stock market” began on May 17th, 1792 when 24 stockbrokers and merchants signed the Buttonwood Agreement.
- The buttonwood tree was simply the local name for the sycamore tree.
- The first stock ticker was invented by Edward A. Calahan in 1867.
- The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 creates the Securities and Exchange Commission, charged with the responsibility of preventing fraud and to require companies to provide full disclosure to investors.
- Despite the New York Stock Exchange’s notoriety, it was not the first stock exchange in the United States. That distinction belongs to the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, which was founded in 1790.
- The Massachusetts Investors Trust was the first official mutual fund, created on March 21st, 1924.
- The Wellington Fund, created in 1928, was the first mutual fund to include stocks and bonds.
- Wells Fargo Bank established the first index fund in 1971. John Bogle would use it as the basis for building low cost index funds at The Vanguard Group.
- The first exchange-traded fund, or ETF, was SPDR. It was created in 1993 by State Street Global Advisors and tracks the S&P 500 stock index.
New York Stock Exchange
- The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) began in 1817 as the brokers formed the New York Stock & Exchange Board (NYS&EB), renting rooms at 40 Wall Street and adopting a constitution.
- The twenty four brokers or firms became the first NYSE members, they were: Leonard Bleecker, Hugh Smith, Armstrong & Barnewall, Samuel March, Bernard Hart, Alexander Zuntz, Andrew D. Barclay, Sutton & Hardy, Benjamin Seixa , John Henry, John A. Hardenbrook , Samuel Beebe, Benjamin Winthrop, John Ferrers, Ephraim Hart, Isaac M. Gomez, Gulian McEvers, Augustine H. Lawrence, G. N. Bleecker, John Bush, Peter Anspach, Charles McEvers, Jr., David Reedy, and Robinson & Hartshorne.
- Anthony Stockholm was the first President of the NYSE.
- William McChesney Martin, Jr., became the first full time salaried president in 1938.
- Originally stocks were traded in what’s known as a “call market.” The President would read out each stock and the brokers would trade them. There was a morning session and an afternoon session.
- There are 2,764 listed securities on the exchange.
- It is fourth largest in terms of listings behind the Bombay Stock Exchange, the London Stock Exchange, and the NASDAQ.
- The NYSE was originally organized at the Tontine Coffee House, located at the northwest corner of Wall and Water Streets, at 82 Wall Street. Business was transacted there until 1817.
- The Tontine Coffee House was located across from the Meal Market, where enslaved workers could be hired or bought.
- The first listed company on the NYSE was the Bank of New York.
- In 1868, there were 533 seats on the NYSE.
- There are currently 1,366 seats available on the NYSE.
- On December 1st, 2005, the highest price was paid for membership in the NYSE at $4 million.
- Thirty days later, December 31st, the NYSE moves away from seats to annual trading licenses.
- Muriel Siebert was the first woman to own a seat on the NYSE in 1967.
- Joseph L. Searles III was the first African-American member of the Exchange in 1970.
- Merill Lynch & Co., Inc. became the NYSE’s first member organization in July 27th, 1971.
- The NYSE merged with publicly-traded Archipelago electronic stock exchanged, formed NYSE Group, Inc., and is now publicly traded under the ticker NYX.
- The longest period in which the exchange was closed occurred during WW1, when the NYSE was closed for four and a half months starting July 31st, 1914.
- The highest price per share stock on the NYSE is Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway (Class A).
NYSE Volume Growth
- The NYSE has its first million share day (where a million shares are exchanged) on December 15th, 1886.
- Since October 10th, 1953, there has never been a sub-million share day.
- In 1961, the average daily volume of the NYSE breaks 4 million.
- Finally, in 1982, the NYSE has its first 100 million share day.
- By 1992, the average daily volume exceeds 300 million shares.
- On October 28th, 1997, over a billion shares are exchanged.
- January 4th, 2001 – Volume breaks 2 billion.
- On February 27th, 2007, the NYSE has its largest volume day of record at over 4 billion shares.
- The NASDAQ was created in 1971 and was the first electronic stock exchange, focusing on the trading of OTC stocks.
- NASDAQ stands for “National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation.”
- 2,500 stocks were traded that first day, February 8th, 1971.
- In 1998, the NASDAQ merged with the American Stock Exchange, which focused on options and derivatives, to form the NASDAQ-AMEX Market group but both exchanges still operate separately.
- The NASDAQ purchased the Philadelphia Stock Exchange for $652 million on November 7th, 2007.
- The highest price per share stock on the NASDAQ is none other than Google.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average was created by Dow Jones & Company in 1896.
- The DJIA breaks 1,000 for the first time in 1971.
- The DJIA breaks 5,000 on November 21, 1995.
- The DJIA breaks 10,000 (for the first time) on March 19th, 1999 (and it broke the other way on October 6th, 2008).
- There are thirty companies on the DJIA, with the list constantly being revised. For example, Kraft Foods recently replaced AIG on the index.
- The oldest DJIA component is General Electric, added in November 7th, 1907.
- October 13th, 2008 marked the largest single gain of the DJIA of 936.42 points. To put that into perspective, the second largest gain was March 16th, 2000, the peak of the stock market boom, when it increased 499.19 points.
- As mentioned earlier, the largest single-day drop was 777.68 on September 29th, 2008 when the House rejected the bailout bill the first time through. To put that one into perspective, the second largest drop was on September 17th, 2001, the first full day of trading following the attacks on September 11th.
- Percentage wise though, these spikes and drops don’t break the top five in either category. Four of the top five largest single day gains were in the late 20s to early 30’s (the other one was in 1987). Three of the five largest losses occurred in 1929 (Black Thursday, Black Friday, and Black Monday) taking up spots #2 – #4. #5 was a drop in 1899 and #1 was the 22% haircut that was the Stock Market Crash of 1987. (list of largest daily changes in the DJIA)
If fifty interesting trivia facts about the stock market isn’t enough, there is a wealth of stock market trivia in this book.