122 Leadenhall Street, City of London (photo by addictive picasso - CC-BY)
The nickname of Footsie refers to the index of the share prices of the UK’s 100 largest companies by market capitalisation. Originally styled FT-SE 100 (Financial Times – Stock Exchange) it is now referred to as FTSE 100.
The index began in January 1984 and according to the OED the first reference to it being nicknamed Footsie is in the Times newspaper (London) on 25 February 1984, “The new Stock Exchange Index of top 100 companies, now officially known as the FT-SE 100 (or Footsie), ended the day 5.2 up.”
Its origin may lie in the City’s dealing rooms when some wag coined it as such as it was easier than saying the letters FTSE. The nickname quickly became officially recognised. If you know of an earlier example, then let the Oxford English Dictionary know.
Personally, I’d rather loose my shirt after playing footsie than lose my shirt on the Footsie.
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