Financial Market Tension Spurs Business at Traders’ Taverns With PM-Stocks-Markets, Bjt
CHICAGO (AP) _ Wall Street has become a bumpy road for Chicago’s stock options traders, but tension on the trading floor has meant good business for the folks who pour the liquid assets at taverns near the exchanges.
″Last week was a very good week for us,″ said Willie Winters, a manager at Arthur Cuttens Bar & Grill in the Chicago Board Options Exchange building. ″As far as volume goes, it was an incredible week.
″We didn’t do much business at lunchtime because almost everybody had to stay on the trading floor, but we more than made up for it at the cocktail hour,″ Winters said Monday night.
The octagonal bar at Cuttens is ringed with electronic displays flashing the latest options and bond quotes, while Jesse Livermore’s, an adjoining champagne bar under the same management, is equipped with a computer so off- work traders can track individual issues.
″The bond traders, in particular, had to stay late most of the week, and a lot of them had to work this weekend, so our normal hours were sort of turned around,″ Winters said.
″The Monday of the big plunge, a real crowd came in, and many of them hung around a few hours longer than usual, but I couldn’t see that they were drinking all that heavily. Most of them just seemed to want to talk to one another and ask, ’Just what ... is happening?‴ he said.
″On Friday, when the New York exchanges closed early, our volume was much bigger than usual,″ Winters said. ″Most of them came in several hours earlier than normal, but they left early, too.
″Some of them might be there drowning their sorrows, but I wouldn’t know,″ he said. ″They aren’t going to be telegraphing it to the world.″
The same pattern was noted by Gerald Jones, a manager at the nearby Savoy Bar & Grill.
″Last Monday - and Monday is usually a dead night - we were packed, and it kept up like that all week,″ Jones said. ″On Friday, they came in in droves, and we did a really early trade at the bars.″
Jones said his tavern did little lunchtime business during the hectic week, but its carry-out restaurant was crowded with traders grabbing bag lunches to eat in the pits.
Tipping appeared good, said Jones, adding he didn’t notice any unusual drunkenness, even among those hardest hit by the plunge.
″I know a lot of the traders,″ Jones said. ″And I know a few guys whose companies went out of business and a few who decided they had to sell their exchange seats.″
Winters and Jones said their taverns were almost empty this Monday night. The same word came from Peter Bournakis, manager of the Brokers Inn, which attracts traders from the Chicago Board of Trade.
″Last week, there was an overall increase in business, and at night they came in a bit more often - but you learn to spot it,″ Bournakis said. ″We watch the electronic quotes in here, and any time more than 200 million shares change hands, you know you’ll have an increase in your nighttime business.″