Stocks: The Case for Timely Disclosure

The New York Stock Exchange, already venerable, was curtly rebuffed in 1866, when it requested information from the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad about the line's capitalization. "We make no reports and publish no statements," declared President John Brisbin. And that was that.

If he were alive today, Brisbin would have to be more politic. At the least, he would find trading in D. L. & W. shares suspended until he provided the appropriate information; at the most, the stock would be delisted. To protect the individual investor, who accounts for about half the shares traded, the stock exchanges have...

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