What is the 'American Stock Exchange - AMEX'

The American Stock Exchange (AMEX) is the third-largest stock exchange by trading volume in the United States. In 2008, it was acquired by the NYSE Euronext and became the NYSE Amex Equities in 2009. The AMEX is located in New York City and handles about 10% of all securities traded in the United States.

The AMEX name was first changed to NYSE Alternext US, then it became known as NYSE Amex Equities. It used to be a strong competitor to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), but that role has since been filled by the Nasdaq. Today, almost all trading on the AMEX is in small-cap stocks, exchange-traded funds and derivatives.

BREAKING DOWN 'American Stock Exchange - AMEX'

The American Stock Exchange has roots all the way back to the late 18th century. With the investment trading market still in its infancy, brokers gathered at coffeehouses and on the street to exchange securities.

The Curbstone Brokers

Traders in the streets became known as curbstone broker and specialized in trading the stocks of small and emerging companies. Many newly created businesses focused on industries such as railroads, oil and textiles often traded first through the curbstone brokers. In the 19th century, curbside trading was largely disorganized. In 1908, the New York Curb Market Agency was established to create a framework of rules and regulations surrounding trading practices.

The New York Curb Exchange

In 1929, the New York Curb Market became the New York Curb Exchange. It adopted an additional set of rules and standards to govern its practices and expanded its trading floor to accommodate the additional volume. In the 1950s, a growing number of new and emerging businesses traded their stocks on the New York Curb Exchange as the value of listed companies jumped from $12 billion in 1950 to $23 billion in 1960.

Milestones of the American Stock Exchange

In 1953, the New York Curb Exchange officially changed its name to the American Stock Exchange. It became known as an exchange where new products were developed and traded. In 1975, the AMEX launched its options market and began delivering educational materials discussing the risks and rewards of this new product. In 1993, the American Stock Exchange introduced the first ever exchange-traded fund (ETF), the Standard & Poor's Depository Receipts (SPDR) focused on investing in the Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500 Index. In 2008, the AMEX joined the NYSE family of exchanges and enhanced its position in trading equities, options, ETFs and closed-end funds.

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