In reality, the vast majority of transactions are carried out by computers far from the ground, but this scene remains the lasting image of the stock markets – that made familiar by films such as Stock exchanges.
This is why a line from this 1983 film is used to follow the partial return to the opening of trading on the New York Stock Exchange this week, after the closing of the physical floor (but not of the electronic market) in March in under the confinement coronavirus.
“We’re back, Mortimer,” said Tuchman, seasoned trader Peter “Einstein of Wall Street”.
Tuchman, who is sometimes called “the most photographed merchant on Wall Street,” is recovering from a nasty fight with the virus, so it’s hard to blame him for his enthusiasm.
But is the return of this week of open trading on the New York Stock Exchange – where security concerns will only allow about 25% of the normal number of brokers to return – really a big deal?
Normally, there are usually two views of the NYSE physical trading room, a feature that many other stock exchanges have abandoned for a long time. For its supporters, it is an important and more sophisticated complement to the vast majority of trades on the market, which are carried out by machines.
If an investor wants to buy $ 10 stock, the computer will quickly find a seller and trade. But a human in the foreign exchange market would talk to other traders and might find many potential sellers walking around, and use their judgment to decide if it’s worth the wait to see if the price goes down.
“This is the difference between [takeaway] delivery and go to a restaurant, where you can check the menu and talk to the specials waiter, “said Steve Grasso, floor trader. Washington Post last month. “You get your food anyway. But you get a lower experience if you don’t eat out. “
Grasso is a bit of a Wall Street TV celebrity, which brings us to the opposite view of the physical trading room: that it is a shameless marketing ploy, useful only as a backdrop for network financial newsletters. Viewers expect a trading room, damn it, so let’s give them a trading room.
This expectation can also become a notch during crises, when Wall Street suddenly turns into a symbol of the American way of life.
After the September 11, 2001 attacks, trade closed completely, but markets quickly reopened (before, as you would expect, collapsing), then New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani described memorable Wall Street as a “monument to our freedom.” with Giuliani, and now that he’s the lawyer for President Donald Trump, we’re wondering if he’ll be back this week to mark the revival of the outcry.
If he goes to the trading room, the former mayor will need (depending on where he obtains his medical opinion) a pen to sign the inevitable document compensating the NYSE against possible lawsuits, a bagel of hydroxychloroquine and a bottle of bleach.