A stock market, equity index, or shared market is an association of investors, including shareholders, who own stocks in publicly traded companies. These markets provide information that tracks the movement of securities on exchanges, giving traders an up-to-date account of the price movements of listed securities. The exchanges are typically located in a single city or are international centers. A stock market has multiple types, including horizontal, vertical and trend lines.
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is one of the largest stock exchanges in the United States. It operates six local exchanges and handles trading in all publicly traded companies in the United States. Traders can buy and sell shares via this exchange. There are also regional stock exchanges such as the New England Stock Exchange (NEX) and West Coast Severy Exchange (WCSE).
The Chicago Stock Exchange (NYSE) is North America’s first and only exchange solely devoted to listing new stocks. The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) is similar to the NYSE in that it sells shares on its own behalf but through independent direct trading desks. These trading desks are known as Self Service (S4) services and are meant for individual investors and institutional clients. Other names for this exchange are Over the Counter Bulletin Board (OTCBB) and Pink Sheets.
Mutual funds, investment professional groups and large institutional investors such as pension funds are some of the larger buyers in the stock market. Speculators, or people who trade stocks based on rumors or suppositions, also participate in the stock market by purchasing shares for speculation purposes. Some speculators are banks, hedge funds and other large financial organizations. Many large commercial banks, for example, deal in penny stocks. Some large institutional investors such as bank holding companies and mutual funds have made a fortune by trading in the stock market.
There are two main factors influencing the supply and demand of stocks in the stock market. One is general economic conditions which affect all products including stocks. The other factor is the overall state of the economy in a country such as the United States where prices of most products are highly volatile and stocks have high intrinsic value due to this factor. Investors have been able to profit from this volatility in the past because of the fact that they can buy and sell large amounts of shares at one time. There has never been as good a time to be an investor as now.
On the whole, investors in the stock market have benefited greatly from the advent of the internet. There are many websites that provide daily and weekly real time stock market news and data. Investors can find the stock they are interested in and can purchase and sell them virtually from their homes for a few hundred dollars or more depending on the company’s shares.