President Bush makes surprise visit to NYSE

Only second sitting president after Reagan to visit the exchange.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- President Bush dropped by the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan on Wednesday after he delivered his State of the Economy speech on Wall Street, marking only the second time a sitting U.S. president has visited the NYSE floor.

"I'm impressed and grateful," Bush told CNN's Susan Lisovicz when she asked him what he thought of his reception.

President Bush greets traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, January 31, 2007.

NYSE Chief Executive Officer John Thain, along with Secret Service agents, escorted Bush across the trading floor at approximately 1:30 p.m.

The president stopped briefly at the Disney specialist trading post and had its operation explained to him before moving on to greet others on the floor.

President Reagan was the first U.S. president to visit the NYSE floor, stopping by on March 28, 1985, to salute "the robust American expansion."

The NYSE is the world's largest and most liquid stock exchange. In an average trading day in the third quarter of last year, nearly 1.6 billion shares with a value of more than $57.3 billion were traded.

Competitors the American Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq (up $0.54 to $34.02, Charts) do their trading electronically.

Wednesday's opening bell was rung by Tokyo Stock Exchange President and CEO Taizo Nishimuro. Immediately after the opening bell, Nishimuro and Thain announced a strategic alliance between the two exchanges.

San Diego Padres relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman was scheduled to ring the closing bell at the NYSE Wednesday afternoon.

The NYSE (down $0.45 to $100.30, Charts) operates Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is not open to the general public for tours.

A company must pay $4 million for a seat on the exchange.

--by CNN's Katy Byron


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