Slowly but surely municipal bonds are joining the rest of the securities world, and that's good news for the long-term strength of the muni market. It won't be long before municipal bonds join Treasuries, corporates, and common stocks in making prices of trades readily available to the public.

Common stock prices have been public ever since brokers met under a buttonwood tree on Wall Street in 1792. The stock ticker was introduced in 1867, and corporate and Treasury bond prices were widely disseminated as the capital markets developed after the Civil War. Price information moved into high gear after World War II with the development of computers, electronic word processing, and high-speed data lines. Treasury bond prices became instantly available on Telerate in 1974. Trading went global in the 1980s, and securities markets never closed. Prices shot around the world instantly on an unimaginable web of wires and satellite signals.

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