DEFINITION of 'Opening Bell'

A bell that is rung to signify the start of the day's trading session. The opening bell is both a symbol of the opening of the market for the day and a physical event involving an individual striking a metal bell. Since 1985, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has used the opening bell to start its trading session at 9:30 a.m.

BREAKING DOWN 'Opening Bell'

With the decline in activity on the trading floor due to the increased use of electronic platforms, the opening bell has become more of a symbolic event, rather than a practical one. Today, dignitaries visiting stock markets take part in small ceremonies in which they ring the opening bell. Not all exchanges use this traditional system, with the NYSE remaining one of the more recognizable exchanges that still uses a bell.

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