New York Stock Exchange seat prices have fallen to their lowest level in almost ten years, raising fears about the long-term future of the 212-year old open outcry market.
Nyse said two membership seats were sold Thursday, the first fetching $1.015 million, down $10,000 from the most recent sale Wednesday, and the second for $1 million. The prices are well off a record high of £2.6 million, reached in 1999.
Seat prices at the Nyse have fallen steadily through 2004, reflecting fears that the introduction of electronic trading may render floor brokers obsolete. The Securities and Exchange Commission is currently pushing through reforms that are set to hasten the pace of change, allowing investors to bypass the floor specialists in favour of faster electronic communications networks.
Nyse spokesman Ray Pellecchia says seat prices are cyclical and are impacted as much by factors like "low levels of trading volume, low volatility and continued pressure on commissions".