What Is a Brief History of the Stock Market in the United States?


Quick Answer

The first exchange in the United States was the Philadelphia Stock Exchange in 1790; however, the New York Stock Exchange emerged shortly thereafter and quickly became larger and more powerful, notes Investopedia. The New York Stock Exchange had very little competition in the United States until the emergence of Nasdaq.

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Full Answer

In May 1792, a group of stockbrokers and business owners met in New York City and formed the New York Stock Exchange, with the Bank of New York as its first listed company, states the Library of Congress. The exchange's location on Wall Street led to quick dominance in the United States, as New York City was in the middle of business trade to and from the United States and housed the headquarters for most banks and large corporations, states Investopedia. The New York Stock Exchange became the most powerful in the world, despite setbacks such as the Great Depression.

In 1971, the National Association of Securities Dealers developed the Nasdaq to compete with the New York Stock Exchange, notes Investopedia. All trades completed on the Nasdaq are done electronically, rather than on trading floors. Due to competition from Nasdaq, the New York Stock Exchange has made changes, such as completing a merger with Euronext to create the first trans-Atlantic exchange. While the Nasdaq has more companies listed, as of 2015, the New York Stock Exchange maintains by far the largest market capitalization.

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