The Stock Market Explained Simply: Finance and Investing Basics

The New York Stock Exchange (sometimes referred to as “the Big Board”) provides a means for buyers and sellers to trade shares of stock in companies registered for public trading. The NYSE is open for trading Monday through Friday from 9:30 am — 4:00 pm ET, with the exception of holidays declared by the Exchange in advance.

The NYSE trades in a continuous auction format, where traders can execute stock transactions on behalf of investors. They will gather around the appropriate post where a specialist broker, who is employed by an NYSE member firm (that is, he/she is not an employee of the New York Stock Exchange), acts as an auctioneer in an open outcry auction market environment to bring buyers and sellers together and to manage the actual auction. They do on occasion (approximately 10% of the time) facilitate the trades by committing their own capital and as a matter of course disseminate information to the crowd that helps to bring buyers and sellers together. The auction process moved toward automation in 1995 through the use of wireless hand held computers (HHC). The system enabled traders to receive and execute orders electronically via wireless transmission. On September 25, 1995, NYSE member Michael Einersen, who designed and developed this system, executed 1000 shares of IBM through this HHC ending a 203 year process of paper transactions and ushering in an era of automated trading.