Daily Ticker

Human vs. Machines: Nasdaq Outage and Aftermath Expose Market’s Weakness

Lauren Lyster
Daily Ticker

From last week’s Nasdaq outage to the passing of Muriel Siebert, the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange – we’re seeing “the end of an era in so many ways” on Wall Street. That’s what Heidi Moore, the Guardian’s US finance and economics editor, tells The Daily Ticker.

Muriel Siebert, who died in Manhattan this Saturday, was the first woman to buy a seat on the NYSE. Siebert purchased her seat on the exchange in 1967 – despite opposition and ridicule – nearly a decade before another woman joined her there.

“She was of the generation that you could just get to work on Wall Street because of moxie and sheer determination,” says Moore of Siebert. “Now Wall Street is much more corporate.”

Siebert was a trailblazer for women in finance, something Moore says has lost momentum in recent years as Wall Street has shrunk.

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Siebert was a human on the NYSE, who made trading decisions herself. That’s something we don’t see much of anymore with the rise of computers (electronic trading including algorithmic and high frequency trading now dominate the markets), meaning the “human touch of trading has really passed.”

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This became obvious last week when trading on the Nasdaq was halted for three hours – making it the longest shutdown of an exchange in recent memory, according to CNBC.

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Some have dismissed this shutdown, saying that in a world where you’re dealing with trading dominated by computers, you’re going to have problems.

Moore begs to differ. Check out the video to see why.

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