While the New York Stock Exchange was founded back in 1792, it's not the oldest stock exchange in the United States. That title belongs to the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, which was founded back in 1790.
The Philadelphia Stock Exchange was originally known as the Board of Brokers of Philadelphia. The firm's members, and the companies they were to finance, played an important role in the eventual development of the United States and helped to spur the country's westward expansion.
Originally located in the Merchants Coffee House, the exchange moved in 1834 to the Merchants' Exchange Building following a fire. After changing its name to the Philadelphia Stock Exchange (PHLX) in 1875, the exchange would move to the Girard Bank Building the following year. Eventually, the exchange would locate to 1411 Walnut Street, which served as both the city's financial center as well as a post office. In 2001, the Merchants' Exchange Building was designated a National Historical Landmark.
In 1949, the PHLX merged with the Baltimore Stock Exchange and was renamed the Philadelphia-Baltimore Stock Exchange. Consolidation would occur again in 1954, when the exchange would become known as the Philadelphia-Baltimore-Washington Stock Exchange following a merger with the Washington Stock Exchange.
The exchange began offering currency options in 1982, and soon specialized in the trading of options, reaching volumes as high as $4 billion per day in terms of underlying asset value. Eventually, the exchange would merge with the Pittsburgh Stock Exchange before finally being sold to the NASDAQ in 2008. Today, the NASDAQ PHLXSM (PHLX(r)) provides one of the most versatile options trading marketplaces in the world. The PHLX trades more than 3,000 symbols including significant contract volumes in top equity, index, and exchange traded funds (EFTs) option series, along with products such as and foreign exchange (FX) options.
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