Two straight days makes this the worst weather-related closure of the New York Stock Exchange since 1888. There was a monstrous snowstorm in March of that year, drifts of over 40 feet. You know what was also happening right about the same time? The American Arithmometer Company started up in St. Louis. It went on to sell the device that its founding Vice President William Seward Burroughs invented - the adding machine, which raises this question for me.
Note: This story was originally published on Oct. 30. It was updated on Nov. 1 to include a radio version of the story.
The stock market, according to a popular narrative, is now just computers making superfast trades with other computers. Those pictures of traders getting emotional on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange are an anachronism. The real action flashes through fiber-optic cables headed for servers in places like Kansas City. It's algorithms all the way down.
Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 6:29 am
By Matt Levine
Credit Paul Goyette / Flickr
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This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. Now, some business news. This past Friday and again today, the Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 200 points. The drop occurred after several big U.S. companies turned in disappointing results. NPR's Jim Zarroli explains.
Robert Griffo was living the high life at an investment firm on Wall Street when the stock market crashed 25 years ago on Black Monday. Along with the Dow Jones industrial average, Griffo's life tumbled.
Griffo tells StoryCorps he worked with the investment company for 11 years.
"I was making a lot of money," he says. "I used to walk over homeless people at Grand Central Station when they were begging for money, and I'd say, 'You need to get a job.' But I lost myself on Wall Street."
When the market crashed on Oct. 19, 1987, Griffo thought he would be let go.