Closing Bell History & Present Function

Overview

The closing bell rings at the end of a trading session signifying that the trading day is over. The New York Stock Exchange is one of the few exchanges which still uses an actual bell to end the session. The bell rings at 4pm EST.  The closing bell was first introduced as a way to notify traders that the trading day was over. A bell, when rung, produces a loud noise that was familiar to everyone on the trading floor. There are some traders who will still attempt to complete a deal or two after the bell, but with the exchanges going electronic, this practice is not as prevalent. On Fridays when the closing bell is rung, many traders will shout cheers of happiness for the beginning of the weekend.

History

The New York Stock Exchange originally used a gavel to signal the end of a trading day. This was later adapted to a gong during the 1800s, in order to accommodate for the larger trading floor.  A gong is an East Asian musical instrument shaped in a metal disc and is hit with a mallet.  Once the New York Stock Exchange moved to its present location at 18 Broad Street in 1903, the gong was replaced with the bell we hear today. The original bells were 18 inches in diameter and were manufactured by the G. S. Edwards Company of Norwalk, Connecticut.

Present

There is one brass bell for each of the four trading areas within the NYSE. The bells are operated synchronously from one single controller. Since 1995, the New York Stock Exchange has allowed celebrities and business executives the opportunity of ringing the bell to open and close the session. Many companies will take part in the closing bell ceremony to promote new products or business deals.

Closing Bell Show

There is a show called the Closing Bell, which airs on CNBC daily from 3pm – 5pm Eastern. The show discusses the latest headlines about the market and how this news affected the stocks in play. Everyday at 4pm, Maria Bartiromo discusses the day’s winners and losers. Maria also interviews money managers and CEOs about their investment strategies and overall opinions of the market.


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