The stock market can be defined as an exchange in which shares of a particular firm are traded. A stock market, or mutual fund market is the collective aggregation of investors and owners of various stocks, representing ownership interests in companies; these can include securities listed in a publicly traded exchange such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Some private exchanges exist for the sole purpose of matching buyers and sellers, while others exist simply to facilitate the buying and selling of stocks by large financial institutions such as banks. A well-known example of a stock market in which there are numerous exchanges is the NASDAQ. Another prominent market includes the London Stock Exchange (LBEX).

Stocks are listed and sold on exchanges. An exchange will list and sell securities for both buyers and sellers. Buyers will purchase from the exchange’s buying pool, and sellers will sell securities in the exchange’s selling pool. Stocks are sold and bought in lots and the quantity available for sale is limited, typically determined by the broker, who also acts as a trustee.

There are two major types of stock markets: primary markets and secondary markets. In primary markets, buyers and sellers meet face to face. In secondary markets, brokers broker-dealers arrange transactions between buyers and sellers on behalf of their clients. The exchanges are designed to facilitate trading between potential buyers and potential sellers, with each dealing in a distinct number of shares.

Trading on the stock market can take many forms. The most familiar type of trading occurs in retail venues, such as individual stock exchanges, over the counter bulletin boards, telephone trading, and automated trading software programs. Major banks conduct trading on the NYSE, among other exchanges. Corporate entities trade on exchanges that are established by the corporations themselves.

There are various types of trading strategies. Some of them are long-term trading, where securities are sold and bought over a long period, usually years; spot trading, where securities are bought and sold within a very short time frame; or short-term trading, where securities are sold and bought within a matter of minutes. Most investors use some combination of these strategies. The types of trading are determined by the size and scope of the transaction, the amount of trading capital required, and the likelihood of gaining and losses. The larger the transaction size and the more rapidly the traders move, the more volatile the market activity can be.

To help understand the stock market better, it is helpful to know what the major exchanges are. They are the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the NASDAQ (national association of securities dealers). Both of these exchanges deal in U.S. securities – stocks and bonds. The NASDAQ also trades foreign securities, but the NYSE exclusively deals in American securities. The Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) is an independent financial services firm that serves individual investors and institutional customers across the country. The trading hours for the exchanges are reported throughout the day on the screens located in their respective buildings.