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Monday, May 17, 2010

The New York Stock Exchange turns 218 Years Old

On May 17, 1792 -- 218 years ago today -- the New York Stock Exchange was founded with the signing of the Buttonwood Agreement.

The agreement launched the New York Stock and Exchange Board (the precursor to today's NYSE) and was signed by 24 members who met underneath the buttonwood tree outside 68 Wall Street. As we write in Inside the Apple:

"The first rule [in the agreement] was that they would only trade with each other. The second rule simply stated that they would hold commissions to 'one quarter of one percent.'"
After a succession of homes, the NYSE now sits at the corner of Broad and Wall in an imposing 1903 structure by George B. Post. But a tiny forlorn tree stands in front of the new building (now safely behind the fence) as a remembrance of the exchange's humble beginnings.
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