New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

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The New York Stock Exchange is the biggest and most prestigious stock exchange in America and the world. It's where the stocks listed on that exchange can be bought and sold, and unlike the NASDAQ Stock Market (its main competitor), it operates in a building in the Manhattan financial district. For most of its entire existence (it was founded in 1792), the NYSE functioned through personal interaction between the stockbrokers who work on the floor of the exchange, buying and selling shares for their clients, and the specialists who "make a market" in those stocks. However, in 2005 the NYSE management proposed a radical departure from this by announcing their intent to merge with a company engaged in electronic trading of stocks. By making this move, the NYSE was recognizing the benefits and efficiencies that could be obtained by matching buyers and sellers electronically in the same way that the NASDAQ Stock Market operates (along with other major exchanges around the world). In February 2006 the SEC gave approval for this merger to proceed. In 2007 the NYSE also acquired the European exchange Euronext NV, becoming a "global" market operator. Then, early in 2008, the NYSE Euronext, as it is now known, announced its plan to acquire the American Stock Exchange. NYSE stocks can also be traded through the NASDAQ Stock Market, and NASDAQ stocks can be traded on the NYSE. Underscoring the globalization of financial services and increasing domination of electronic securities trading, in February 2011 the NYSE announced it had reached an agreement to be acquired by the German stock exchange, Deutsche Borse. The merger of the two giant organizations would create the world's largest financial exchange.