The NYSE AMEX, formerly the American Stock Exchange (AMEX), is a stock exchange located in New York City and is the third largest exchange in the United States with a history of small-cap stocks trading hands at a furious pace. The American Stock Exchange has long been a home to the trading of small-cap stocks and once was a fierce competitor to the New York Stock Exchange.
Today trading on the AMEX now consists mostly of exchange traded funds, small-cap stocks, and derivatives with the American Stock Exchange handling around 10% of securities that are traded in the United States. In 2008 the American Stock Exchange was acquired by the New York Stock Exchange for $260 million in stock.
The origins of the American Stock Exchange, or AMEX, can be traced back to the 19th century when speculative small-cap stocks were auctioned outside registered exchanges in the streets. The brokers that were working in the streets hawking these small-cap stocks eventually became known to traders as curbstone brokers. Efforts began to organize and standardize the "curb market" in the early 1900s with the New York Curb Market eventually being created in 1911. In 1921, the Curb Market finally got off the streets and moved into a building in lower Manhattan.
In 1929, the New York Curb Market was renamed the New York Curb Exchange and kept that name until 1953 when the business took on the American Stock Exchange moniker. In 2008 the AMEX was merged with the New York Stock Exchange and became briefly known as the NYSE Alternext US before finally being branded with its current official name of NYSE Amex Equities.
AMEX Small-Cap Stocks
The American Stock Exchange tries to position itself to be the premier market for the trading of small-cap stocks and micro-cap stocks. The definition of small-cap stocks can vary quite a bit from one brokerage to another but small-cap stocks on the AMEX are generally considered have market capitalization in the $300 million to $2 billion range. Micro-cap stocks have market capitalization under $300 million.