Wall StreetWall Street is the financial district of New York City, based on the name of the street running from Broadway to South Street on the East River. Over time, Wall Street came to signify a geographic location encompassing a commercial downtown Manhattan neighborhood, but more broadly signifying the historical financial center of the United States -- and synonymous with New York-based financial interests. It is the first permanent home of the New York Stock Exchange, the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed companies. Anchored by Wall Street, New York City is one of the principal financial centers of the world.
Several major U.S. stock and other exchanges have headquarters on Wall Street and in the Financial District, including the NYSE, NASDAQ, AMEX, NYMEX, and NYBOT.
Wall Street is important in a nation such as the U.S., about which former president Calvin Coolidge once remarked, "The business of America is business" and in which rising stock markets are called bulls and falling markets are called bears.
The seven largest Wall Street firms in the first decade of the 21st century were Bear Stearns, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup Incorporated, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers. During the recession of 2008-2010, many of these firms went out of business or were bought up at fire-sale prices by other financial firms.
Numerous people associated with Wall Street have become famous. Although their reputations are usually limited to members of the stock brokerage and banking communities, several have gained national and international celebrity, such as John Meriwether, John Briggs, Michael Bloomberg, Warren Buffett (all affiliated at one time or another with the firm Salomon Brothers), and numerous others.
Wall Street's culture has long been criticized as being rigid and stereotyped as overly protective of its interests. More recent criticism has centered on structural problems and lack of a desire to change well-established habits. Wall Street's establishment resists government oversight and regulation.
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