Education
The Wall Street Bull, a surprise gift left under the New York Stock Exchange Christmas tree by Artist Arturo Di Modica and a few friends. The Bull eventually finding its permanent home at Bowling Green Park, not far from the NYSE, who were far from amused of its arrival back in December 1989.
The Wall Street Bull, a surprise gift left under the New York Stock Exchange Christmas tree by Artist Arturo Di Modica and a few friends. The Bull eventually finding its permanent home at Bowling Green Park, not far from the NYSE, who were far from amused of its arrival back in December 1989.

5 Things You Should Know About Wall Street

2 months agoByBob Mason

There’s been many movies and, while some of us may recall Gordon Gekko in his Giorgio Armani suits and suspenders, others will be more familiar with the Wolf of Wall Street, which was based on the life and times of Jordan Belfort, played convincingly by Leonardo Di Caprio.

But before we go into the fun stuff, there’s a little history worth touching on, that little street in Lower Manhattan, not just considered to be the financial centre of the U.S, but also the epicentre of global finance. If you haven’t worked there, you’re not one of the club, some might say…

The History

Wall Street gets its name from a wall built by the Dutch in the 17th Century. The wall was actually just a wooden palisade that was built on the northern end of New Amsterdam and was built to protect against the British, Native Americans and, ironically, the pirates, following a bloody battle where the Dutch went out and killed off their neighbours.

Some might say that the Dutch may have managed to keep out the British and the Native Americans, but there were likely to be a few pirates under the Buttonwood Tree, with a few pirates walking the streets and climbing the elevators today, the British still in preference of Saville Row and Threadneedle Street.

So perhaps less well known facts about Wall Street would be:

  1. While slavery was introduced to Manhattan in 1626, it took almost a century before the NYC Common Council made Wall Street the city’s first official slave market, which operated between 1711 and 1762.
  2. In the 18th Century, traders and speculators would gather under a buttonwood tree to trade securities and in 1792, the Buttonwood Agreement was signed, which was considered the beginnings of the New York Stock Exchange, formalising fee structures for members.
  3. Before the Buttonwood Agreement was signed, Wall Street was the site of George Washington’s inauguration in 1789, who quite appropriately features on the one-dollar bill, the oldest design of U.S currency in circulation. The Bill of Rights was also passed on Wall Street.
  4. In 1884, Charles Dow started tracking stocks, predominantly railway stocks and formulated an average of the 11, while also creating the concept of a bull and bear market, based on the averages.
  5. 1889 was the year that the Wall Street Journal came into existence, originating from a daily report known as the Customer’s Afternoon Letter. It took a century for the average to cover 30 stocks after the creation of the Wall Street Journal, which remains the number today.

With the beginnings of the New York Stock Exchange established in the late 19th Century, it didn’t take long for investors to realise the concept of risk with the Wall Street Crash of 1929, in what was likely to have hit the first generation of stock market investors, before enshrouding the U.S in the Great Depression.

The aftermath of the 1929 crash was one that left Wall Street in the dark for more than a decade, the U.S government coming down hard on the practice of purchasing stock on margin, sentiment to the practice of leveraging only beginning to ease in the late 40s, investors having to pay 100% of the cost of a stock even in 1947.

While the street trundled along, the Vietnam War leading to lower trading activity, it was Ronald Regan who changed American and returned focus to capitalism and business, not wholly unexpected when a U.S president was once a Hollywood actor.

The shift in the U.S economy, wars and depressions forgotten, brought a new breed to town. While ‘wanna-be’ actors made their way to Hollywood, holding their last few Dollars, there was another dream on the Eastern seaboard, one of fast cars, strip clubs, drugs, fine dining and particularly understanding wives, the use of cocaine becoming more associated with the highflying executives on The Street than the struggling artist in the Village.

To put it into perspective, in the heydays of the 80s, before the ’87 crash, one of the sell-side shops actually had a drug dealer on their payroll, sitting at one of the desks. Allegedly the said drug dealer became the head of the desk years later, apparently having a knack at trading…

The 1987 crash brought things back down to earth for a while, with more than a 100,000 jobs gone on the street alone. Gordon Gekko was the Hollywood epitome of Wall Street before the ’87 crash, the film released in the year of the crash.

I would however recommend reading Liar’s Poker, a semi-autobiographical book, written by Michael Lewis, a book capturing life on Wall Street as a Broker in the 80s, Gordon Gekko relatively tame compared with the brokers encapsulating the spirit of finance.

As the 80’s and 90s came and went, a recession here and there, the September 11th terrorist attacks on the U.S ended with over 40% of Wall Street estimated to have been destroyed, but even terrorist attacks could not bring an end to the Street, though perhaps the way of life for some.

The markets recovered as did Wall Street, it taking the financial market meltdown of 2008 to finally bring an end the cavalier activities that had made the residence of the street so much money, for it to be lost overnight, the Global Financial Crisis resulting in what some consider a depression far worse than the Great Depression.

The Street may have lost some of the old boys that epitomized the high flying image of the 70s and 80s, but there are a few still there, high up on the executive floors, with many a story to tell over a few glasses of Yamazaki Single Malt at one of the Gentlemen’s clubs in the City, but you’ll need to be a member…

Today, its back on its feet and the Dow closed at a record high on Thursday evening, the U.S president one that is also accustomed to television and business driving the markets, the trading floors above Trinity Church buzzing once more, with the Wall Street Bull standing in all its glory in Bowling Green Park.

More News

European concerns: Greece is still Struggling, But Who is to Blame?

Historical Snapshot As we are heading towards the 9th year of economic crisis in Greece, someone has to wonder “what went so wrong that 9 different governments in collaboration with the tripartite committee (European commission, IMF and WB) were unable to reach a solution?”  and how come the Greek crises has not been resolved yet?. … Continue reading European concerns: Greece is still Struggling, But Who is to Blame?

Morning Market Update – Dollar Gives Mixed Responses

Morning Market Update – Dollar Gives Mixed Responses

Asian Markets Japan’s foreign bond investment dropped down to ¥-1283.8B last week from a previous ¥-796.2B. Japan’s foreign investment in Japan stocks: ¥258.4B (April 21) versus the previous rate of ¥315.2B. Japan’s life insurance companies have decided to purchase foreign bonds at a slower rate. The reason behind the slow purchases is that the Federal … Continue reading Morning Market Update – Dollar Gives Mixed Responses

Commodities Consolidate in Choppy Trading

Gold prices continued to consolidate and range during some choppy trading over the past 24 hours as the traders wait for some fundamental push in a specific direction to move the prices. We had mentioned in our forecasts last week that with the gold prices unable to surmount 1300, we are likely to see the … Continue reading Commodities Consolidate in Choppy Trading

Crude Oil Monthly

Crude Oil Up after EIA Reports Larger-than-Expected Draw

Oil prices rebounded from earlier weakness after government data reported a larger-than-expected draw in U.S. crude oil inventories. The news helped trigger a strong short-covering rally since it caught most traders by surprise. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. commercial crude inventories fell by 3.6 million barrels to a total of 528.7 million … Continue reading Crude Oil Up after EIA Reports Larger-than-Expected Draw

Market Snapshot

Market Snapshot – World Stocks Near Record Highs, Trump’s Tax Reform in Focus

Global Stocks Near Record Highs Ahead of Trump Tax Reform Announcement A lack of material macroeconomic data through the day will certainly leave the markets with very little to consider, by which time the markets will have Trump’s tax reforms on the table and there will also be a more educated guess on whether Congress … Continue reading Market Snapshot – World Stocks Near Record Highs, Trump’s Tax Reform in Focus

European Stocks Consolidate Ahead of ECB Meeting

European stock markets are mostly slightly down. The CAC 40 is the notable exception and managing to hold on to a 0.10% gain, but the DAX has lost -0.05% and the FTSE 100 is down -0.10%, although in particularly the DAX remains at very high levels. Italian and Spanish markets are underperforming ahead of tomorrow’s … Continue reading European Stocks Consolidate Ahead of ECB Meeting

Expand Your Knowledge

Can Le Pen Make France Great Again?

The Story of Marine Le Pen

Marine Le Pen, the president of the National Front, is not just a politician, but also a layer taking France by storm at the age of 48, young when compared with the Establishment. Sarkozy, Fillon and Hollande all 62 years of age with only center-left Macron her junior at the age of 39. Marine Le … Continue reading The Story of Marine Le Pen

Aluminum in China

7 Reasons Chinese Consume Aluminum

We have a curious situation in the global aluminium market which has made the prediction of the metal prices quite difficult in recent times. We have a situation where there is a reduction in the global production of aluminium and little demand in the rest of the world while in China, we have a situation … Continue reading 7 Reasons Chinese Consume Aluminum

7 Reasons Why Women Trade Better Than Men

A hotly debated subject, particularly when considering the ratio of men to women on the trading floor and the investment banking’s attitude towards women, despite the best efforts of banks to create diversity and equality in the workplace. For the fewer women that are on the trading floors globally, there are certain attributes that bring … Continue reading 7 Reasons Why Women Trade Better Than Men

Crude Oil

4 Commodities for 4 Seasons

The lifecycle of commodities play a role in the performance of many commodities that are produced globally.  While crude oil prices are driven by the supply of crude oil and the demand for products such as gasoline and heating oil, grains experience their greatest volatility ahead their harvests.  Coffee prices are affected by weather in … Continue reading 4 Commodities for 4 Seasons

Fashion industry provides good opportunities

Investing in Fashion

Popular trends of daily life style in clothing, footwear, accessories, makeup, body, or furniture are commonly known as fashion. Since ancient times, in majority of the cultures (around the world) these life style trends also indicate the social status achieved by the members of the society. Historical evidence tells that influential men and women of … Continue reading Investing in Fashion

Currency wars threat global economy and political stability

World War III – The Currency War

Are We Entering a Phase of Currency War? After a long period that last for decades, we are now in a time, over the last decade or so, where wars are fought using currencies rather than using weapons. Countries realize that it is easier, cheaper and less violent to bring destruction to other countries by … Continue reading World War III – The Currency War

See All

FX Empire - the company, employees, subsidiaries and associates, are not liable nor shall they be held liable jointly or severally for any loss or damage as link result of reliance on the information provided on this website. The data contained in this website is not necessarily provided in real-time nor is it necessarily accurate.
FX Empire may receive compensation from the companies featured on the network.

All prices herein are provided by market makers and not by exchanges. As such prices may not be accurate and they may differ from the actual market price. FX Empire bears no responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as link result of using any data within the FX Empire.