Pit Traders Reportedly Fist Fight for the First Time in Years

Zach Noble

The rapid and near-total digitization of financial markets has had a few side effects, including virtually eliminating trading floor fistfights because, well, there’s hardly anyone to fight on those floors these days.

But a bout of old-fashioned fisticuffs reportedly shook the world’s largest physical commodity futures exchange Tuesday, hearkening back to the old days of crowded, combustible pit trading.

Two traders in the New York Mercantile Exchange’s “open outcry pits” came to blows after one trader refused to vacate another trader’s “spot,” TheStreet reported.

Traders work in the oil options pit at the New York Mercantile Exchange, Wednesday, July 3, 2013. Richard Drew/AP

The severity of the altercation was unclear, but two traders called it a “fist fight,” and both men involved in the dust-up were escorted from the exchange by security.

“We’ve only had a handful of altercations,” one veteran trader told TheStreet. “There’s a couple of guys who might go outside [to fight] and that kind of crap. A couple of guys push each other [on the floor] maybe here and there — you can’t, you get thrown off the floor and fined seriously.”

Everyone TheStreet interviewed said it had been years since a fight broke out on the trading floor.

A spokesman for the CME Group, which runs the NYMEX, reportedly declined to comment on whether a fight took place or what sort of punishment could await trading floor fighters.

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