• U.S.

Wall Street: Trading Stock on Election Day

1 minute read

Since 1792, when 24 brokers met beneath a buttonwood tree at what is now 68 Wall Street to form the New York Stock Exchange, the Big Board has always closed on presidential election days. But 1984 is different. In an age of round-the-clock global securities markets, the stock exchange decided to stay open during this year’s vote. Said Exchange Chairman John Phelan: “This is part of the exchange’s ongoing efforts to provide increased opportunities for investors around the world to participate in the marketplace.”

Not all investors, though, were happy with the change. Some Wall Streeters feared that rumors based on exit polls could stampede the market during trading and create wild price swings. Others worried lest speculators who follow the vote use their knowledge of the balloting to reap profits. Said William Le-Fevre, market strategist for Purcell, Graham & Co.: “The market should not open because there is too much room for abuse.” Exchange officials discounted such concerns. “We deal with rumors day in and day out here,” said a spokesman, “and I don’t think there will be any more or any less on Election Day.”

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