Osborne 'unlocks' Stock Exchange in new ceremony

The London Stock Exchange's version of Wall Street's opening bell was launched yesterday with the use of a giant countdown clock and key.

The inaugural event saw a timer on a giant globe mark the 8am opening, before the Chancellor, George Osborne, triggered trade by "unlocking" the market with a plastic key.

The ceremony will become a regular event with companies and celebrities expected to turn the key on occasions such as a stock market flotation.

The giant globe, placed in the central atrium of the LSE headquarters at Paternoster Square in the City of London, is set against 500 high definition screens, which will be used to show news, market prices and weather.

The LSE has for years marked the start of trading by activating balls on a mobile sculpture known as The Source. But the LSE decided to replace it with a more traditional, opening bell-style ceremony, even though pit trading at the exchange ended 25 years ago.