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This Day In Market History: The First Guest To Ring The NYSE Opening Bell

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This Day In Market History: The First Guest To Ring The NYSE Opening Bell

Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.

What Happened?

On this day 62 years ago, TV quiz show winner Leonard Ross became the first guest ever allowed to ring the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange.

Where The Market Was

The Dow finished the day at 503.23. The S&P 500 traded at 47.26. Today, the Dow is trading at 24,448.69 and the S&P 500 is trading at 2,670.29.

What Else Was Going On In The World?

In 1956, the blockbuster movie “The Ten Commandments,” starring Charlton Heston as Moses, premiered in U.S. theaters. Elvis Presley released his first No. 1 single, “Heartbreak Hotel.” The average monthly rent in the U.S. was $88.

NYSE's Guest List Begins

The U.S. stock exchange has used a bell to signal the opening of the market since the 1870s, when a Chinese gong was used to begin trading. The gong was replaced by a brass bell when the NYSE moved into its current location on Wall Street in 1903. Today, there are four synchronized bells that ring in each of the four different trading areas of the NYSE.

Leonard Ross, who won $100,000 on a TV game show answering questions about the stock market, was the first NYSE outsider to ring the opening bell in April 1956, starting a tradition of guest ringers. The distinguished list of NYSE bell ringers now includes Darth Vader, the Taco Bell chihuahua, Snoop Dogg and the band Foreigner.

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