WHAT IS 'Big Board'

Big Board is a nickname for the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), located at 11 Wall Street, New York City, New York. The New York Stock Exchange, or Big Board, is the oldest stock exchange in the United States. 

BREAKING DOWN 'Big Board'

Big Board, also known as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), is the first and most popular stock exchange in the world. The NYSE originated in 1792 when two dozen stockbrokers signed the Buttonwood Agreement. The NYSE acquired its current name in 1863, and the first company listed with the exchange was the Bank of New York. The Big Board is the world's largest stock exchange in terms of the market capitalization of its listed stocks, and two of the NYSE buildings are designated as National Historic Landmarks.

The Big Board is open for trading Monday through Friday, with regular trading session hours scheduled between 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST). The NYSE is closed on weekends and for certain holidays, and also during catastrophic events, such as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, which closed the NYSE for four sessions.

Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, derivatives and exchange-traded funds all trade on the Big Board. The NYSE is an auction market, meaning buyers and sellers enter competitive offers at the same time, and matching bids and offers are paired together and executed. Unlike the NASDAQ, the NYSE has an actual trading floor.

To buy or sell a security listed on the NYSE, an investor places an order by calling a broker or going through an online trading account. Once the order reaches the floor of the NYSE, floor brokers and specialists execute the transaction.

When the prices of any listed securities move up or down rapidly, the Big Board may restrict trading to reduce the large number of program trades that occur in an average trading session. This is typically the case if the Dow Jones Industrial Average moves more than 170 points.

Big Board Regulations

The Big Board operated as a nonprofit institution for hundreds of years until March 2006 when it became a for-profit corporation. The NYSE’s Board of Directors monitors its members and listed companies, however the Big Board is still subject to a wide range of regulations from several federal agencies, including the Federal Reserve, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC oversees the NYSE and all national exchanges, investment institutions, brokerage companies and other participants in the securities markets.

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