Each day, Benzinga will take a look back at a notable market-related moment that happened on this date.
On Dec. 20, 1966, the New York Stock Exchange switched to a fully automated computerized trading system for the first time.
Where Was the Market?
The S&P 500 was trading at 80.96 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was trading at 794.59.
What Else Was Going On in the World?
In 1966, Mississippi became the last state in the U.S. to repeal a statewide prohibition on alcoholic beverages 33 years after federal prohibition had been repealed. A dozen eggs cost 60 cents.
The Digital Era
Most investors probably think of the late 1990s and the beginning of the internet era as the period when computers really got their hooks into Wall Street. In reality, trading at the NYSE has been computerized going all the way back to 1966.
The first computers at the NYSE were ill-equipped to handle the tremendous trading volume that would come pouring in the early years.
Ironically, the first computerized trading hit the NYSE at the beginning of one of the longest dull periods for U.S. stocks in modern history. After peaking at 990 in January 1966, the Dow would still be hovering around the 990 level more than 16 years later in December 1982.
Today, computers handle all of the 2 to 6 billion in trading volume that passes through the NYSE every single day. More than 60 percent of all trading that occurs on the exchange today is attributed to high-frequency computerized trades, which can be executed in as little as 10 milliseconds.
By Wayne Duggan
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