When the contemporary American hears the term “stock market,” they will immediately envision images of the NYSE stock exchange, and, what appears to be, utter chaos just before the stock market closing bell. This perception is understandable for the majority of individuals, because the closest they will ever get to the stock exchange is through their television screens.
What few folks ever see, however, are the hundreds of stock brokers cloistered away in their lonely cubicles, trading over the phone, eyeing five different computer screens, flashing hand signals to colleagues, and referencing the Yahoo historical stock prices. Although stock brokers are well paid, their job is often listed among the 10 to 15 most stressful careers.
The history of the stock market can be traced back to 12th century France, when exchange dealers decided it was necessary to develop a system to manage and regulate immense agricultural debts in the best interest of the banks. Since these exchange dealers also traded and brokered debts, they became known as “brokers.” Today, the terms stock broker and stock trader are often used interchangeably.
In 2013, stockbrokers are most commonly referred to as financial advisers or representatives. Even though every country has its own stock exchange, the New York Stock Exchange hours remain the most important in the world. Therefore, regardless of what happens in England, Japan, Germany, France, or China, the entire world has its eyes focused on New York.
In order to succeed in trading stocks, brokers need to be able to think fast on their feet, make good decisions, and be knowledgeable enough to make accurate predictions. One of the primary resources on which brokers rely is historical stock prices. The historical stock prices allow brokers to refer to similar past trading conditions to help them to determine the most appropriate actions to take today. Basically, historical stock prices are used in much the same way as the average person solves their problems; the solution that worked best in the past should at least help now.
Working as a broker at the New York Stock Exchange is often glorified in the media. Although stock traders are paid well, it is rarely glamorous; this is particularly true for brokers who are new to buying and selling stocks. Regardless of his or her experience trading stocks, historical stock prices just might be the best friend of every stock trader.