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The best blogger take on the $8.2 billion NYSE-IntercontinentalExchange merger

Tourists pose for photographs in front o


Tourists pose for photographs in front of the New York Stock Exchange. The NYSE and ICE announced an $8.2 billion merger on December 20.

A busy day on Wall Street

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Markets React To Results Of Fed Policy Meeting

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More traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Stocks Trade Drop On Employment Data

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Yet more traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

NYSE trading floor

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Traders. Working. On the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Dow Jones Industrial Average Closes Slightly Down

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The NYSE has merged with a company no one has ever heard of, based in Atlanta, trading stuff no one understands.

Marvel Studios Celebrates Release Of "Marvel's The Avengers" At The New York Stock Exchange

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The NYSE: It's a movie set.

U.S. Markets Open Under Uncertain Economic Conditions

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And back to the traders. Working.

Dow Plunges 500 Points On Grim Global Economic Outlook

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He's working, too, although it looks like he's just thinking hard. On the floor of the NYSE.

Mercer 20355

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An American flag hangs in front of the New York Stock Exchange, symbol of America and American capitalism.

At Reuters, Felix Salmon has, predictably, the best take on the just-announced $8.2 deal for IntercontinentalExchange Inc. (ICE) to buy the New York Stock Exchange. Yes, that New York Stock Exchange, itself combined these days with another exchange called Euronext.

Felix's basic point — and this may require a bit of gray-cell exertion to get — is that there are basically two distinct worlds in which trading happens: the old school world of stocks, with which we're at least passingly familiar; and a new school world of trades in products that are based on  some other product or asset — derivatives. 

The derivatives market is vast. But the vast majority of people probably hadn't even heard of derivatives until the financial crisis, when "collateralized debt obligation" and "credit default swap" lurched into the popular vocabulary.


Easy choice: Money and no job, or a job and no money?


Federal Reserve

Ever long for the days of Dow 1000? If you have a job but no money, maybe you should.

Felix Salmon has a great post today about, basically, why we need to tax capital gains at a higher rate. I made a rare Tuesday appearance on "America Now" — the radio program hosted by the always lively Andy Dean, with whom I usually discuss and debate economics and business on Fridays — and wound up talking about this very topic, as it relates to Mitt Romney's taxes. 

In a nutshell, capitals gains is income derived from investment returns — selling stocks and bonds, or collecting dividends, that type of thing. The argument in favor of keeping them lower than income tax is that people with money to invest, i.e. the affluent, need an incentive to keep investing. The idea is that a virtuous circle will be created, with investment creating jobs and jobs creating income and that income being invested, by people who wouldn't otherwise invest. Presto! Economic growth!