Ever since I was just a wee-tike, I’ve been interested in what those traders do on the exchange room floor. All that yelling, the paper flying everywhere, and of course, the hand signals.
Business Insider had a piece on Rick Santelli, about having his camera angle moved on the exchange room floor (big whoop). Then they buried the best part of their find in a slideshow: the hand signals of The Pit.
Via Northman Family:
The history of hand signals on the trading floor began around the middle of the 19th century. Brokers and traders found themselves unable to reconcile the distance between their personal staffs working feverishly in offices high above the pit and the pit itself. Facing increasing competition for real estate on the trading floor, fights broke out over positions in the pit which afforded better views of some trading board or brokerage service window, from which information could be retrieved, interpreted, and acted upon. Some brokers even began looking into hiring exceptionally tall men, to gain the literal advantage of foresight!
Here are some common hand signals used on the trading floor:
And of course:
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