This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Fight Breaks Out on Floor of New York Merc in Throwback to Bygone Era

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In a throwback to a bygone era when financial markets were flush with human traders and tempers often ran high, an old-fashioned fight broke out Tuesday on the floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange, the largest physical commodity futures exchange in the world.

People who work on the floor of the Merc in lower Manhattan told TheStreet that two traders in the so-called 'open outcry pits,' where investors sell futures and options of precious metals, crude oil and natural gas, engaged in what might be euphemistically called a physical confrontation but which a half-dozen people interviewed described as including shoving or throwing punches.

The altercation became quite heated, according to four traders, one of whom said someone's shirt was ripped during the fracas. Two other traders called it a "fist fight." The two men were subsequently escorted from the building by security, said two security guards. 

A source said that one trader walked-up to another trader to tell him to get out of "his spot" in the pits. When the "spot" was not vacated, the first trader shoved the other man, another trader said.

"We're not in the schoolyard and you can't push anybody, and that's it," he said. "Once you put your hands on somebody then that's like the real no-no, so that's what happened."

The two security guards confirmed that a fight occurred and that the two traders were escorted off the floor. Damon Leavell, a spokesman for the CME Group, which runs the NYMEX, would not comment on whether a fight took place or what fines would be levied in the case of such an incident. 

"We've only had a handful of altercations," said one trader who has worked at the NYMEX for decades. "There's a couple of guys who might go outside [to fight] and that kind of crap. A couple of guys push each other [on the floor] maybe here and there -- you can't, you get thrown off the floor and fined seriously."

NYMEX floor trading has significantly dwindled from its peak days when brokers stuffed open outcry pits and screaming filled the space. Traders used to occupy multiple commodity trading floors in the building, but officials have consolidated physical trading to one room amid the boom of electronic off-site trading.

Technological advancements have turned many markets completely electronic, leaving questions as to what will eventually happen to historic locations such as the New York Stock Exchange, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the NYMEX. The London Metals Exchange on Monday announced that it will preserve its iconic open outcry ring past 2015.

All the sources interviewed said it has been years since a fight occurred on the trading floor. While one source said the "skirmish" was prompted by a disagreement over space in the trading floor, others said that these types of events usually occur when trading is sluggish and volatility is low.

"There's just stress from people not making any money," a trader said.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

>Contact by Email.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $93.66 -0.09%
FB $118.58 0.85%
GOOG $698.30 0.76%
TSLA $241.82 0.44%
YHOO $36.53 -0.19%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,891.16 +117.52 0.66%
S&P 500 2,081.43 +16.13 0.78%
NASDAQ 4,817.5940 +42.2360 0.88%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs