Quote of the Day 2010-5-5

You’re U.S. Government property. You’re a malfunctioning $30 million weapon. You’re a total goddamn catastrophe, and by God, if it kills me, you’re going to tell me how this happened.

-Chris Cooper as Alexander Conklin, The Bourne Identity

Financial folklore: Wall Street’s bulls and bears

The origin of Wall Street dates back to the mid-seventeenth century at the settlement of New Amsterdam (later New York). Governor Peter Stuyvesant ordered the construction of the wall to better protect the colony and its livestock from native American and animal raids. His stated purpose for building the wall was to keep out the bears and keep in the bulls. In 1685, surveyors would lay out Wall Street along the lines of the original stockade and it would become an important meeting place for traders and speculators, eventually becoming the site of the New York Stock Exchange. Despite the fact that the wall was dismantled in 1699 and no longer exists, Wall Street remains the center of the financial world and traders continue to use the terminology bulls and bears. Bulls refer to periods when markets are rising and bears refer to periods when markets are falling.

So even today, the goal of Wall Street is to protect the bulls and drive out the bears.