- What is Stock Market?
- What is Stock Exchange
- How Stock Trading Works
A stock market, equity market, or share market is the aggregation of buyers and sellers of stocks (also called shares), which represent ownership claims on businesses; these may include securities listed on a public stock exchange, as well as stock that is only traded privately, such as shares of private companies which are sold to investors through equity crowdfunding platforms. Investment is usually made with an investment strategy in mind.
A stock exchange is an exchange (or bourse)[note 1] where stockbrokers and traders can buy and sell shares (equity stock), bonds, and other securities. Many large companies have their stocks listed on a stock exchange. This makes the stock more liquid and thus more attractive to many investors. The exchange may also act as a guarantor of settlement. These and other stocks may also be traded "over the counter" (OTC), that is, through a dealer. Some large companies will have their stock listed on more than one exchange in different countries, so as to attract international investors.
Stock exchanges may also cover other types of securities, such as fixed-interest securities (bonds) or (less frequently) derivatives, which are more likely to be traded OTC.
Trade in stock markets means the transfer (in exchange for money) of a stock or security from a seller to a buyer. This requires these two parties to agree on a price. Equities (stocks or shares) confer an ownership interest in a particular company.
Participants in the stock market range from small individual stock investors to larger investors, who can be based anywhere in the world, and may include banks, insurance companies, pension funds and hedge funds. Their buy or sell orders may be executed on their behalf by a stock exchange trader.