Peter Tuchman is one of the dwindling number of people, mostly men, who every day from the opening bell at 9:30 a.m. to the closing bell at 4:00 p.m., are on the phone buying and selling stocks on behalf of their clients on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Tuchman has been a constant on the floor since 1985 and is now one of the 1,000 employees on the floor and 700 traders still there.
On the morning of our interview, Tuchman had traded for his clients on two initial public offerings and three secondary share sales, when public companies sell more shares to raise cash. “I need to know exactly where they’re opening, what the volume is, where I think there’s going to be support and resistance in the aftermarket,” Tuchman said while looking down at his “handheld,” the iPad-looking device that brokers use to enter their trades. “That’s what my guys want to know. That I can offer from looking to see who’s in the crowd , looking at the order flow they have, interpreting the information.”
Tuchman’s distinctive hairstyle and expressive manner have made him a staple of the business pages and websites looking to illustrate their market stories.
“My hair has been an asset to me for a long time,” said Tuchman, although he long ago lost the 20-inch ponytail he came to the exchange with in the 1980s.
“My expressions are pretty true because this place excites me,” Tuchman said. “When it goes up or down, my expression will be a expression of grief or joy. It’s pretty simple to look at me and see if it’s an up 400 day, down 400 day.”
Tuchman’s wrists are covered in bracelets that jingle as he walks the floor. “They put up a sign once citing me for excessive jewelry,” he said.
On the rise of electronic trading, Tuchman said: “We did not become more productive, there is nothing productive about the new technology, in my opinion. There was a lot more communication, transparency, a lot more volume back then.”
But Tuchman, like many on Wall Street, is a stubborn optimist. “I’m really positive about the place. What we offer is unmatched in the world.”
And even after a quarter-century on the NYSE floor, Tuchman said, “I don’t miss a day because you don’t know what’s going to happen.”
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