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What is the Stock Market?

The stock market is where shares of stock are sold and bought by investors to create financial gain. Whilst the term - stock market - is commonly used interchangeably with the term "finance", both concepts are really used to refer to different subsets of the market. If one says she trades in the stock market, typically it means she buys and sells stocks/shares on one (or many) of the main stock exchanges/boards) that is a component of this larger market. This includes such widely known and reliable names as NYSE, NASDAQ, AMEX and FTSE, as well as lesser known ones like UVX, OTCBB and Pink Sheet. The various stock markets (including futures and options trading, stock index trading, foreign exchange and commodity markets) operate on similar lines and have often, over time, developed a common terminology and/or trading practices. To keep abreast of the latest developments on the world market and track all the changes affecting exchange rates, visit the portal Myfin. There you will also find many other useful articles and services.


A typical transaction during a typical day in the stock market includes buying shares from an individual or institution, then selling these shares on the exchange traded market. In order to buy and sell financial securities (also referred to as securities within the financial markets), an investor usually either needs to open an account with a broker via a financial institution or through a specific company online, or via telephone. It is during the late afternoon on a Friday, for instance, when the largest number of traders actually buy shares. Throughout the course of a typical trading day, new and existing investors will purchase shares, sell them again, and play various other types of financial transactions - all of which collectively constitute the stock market.

Beyond the stock market itself, there are also many other types of exchanges and markets, including commodity markets, energy markets, bond markets, and a host of others. Some of these exchanges have evolved since the introduction of paper stock and have been referred to as "over-the-counter" trading exchanges or OTC markets. OTC trading is considered less regulated than exchanges like the NYSE and NASDAQ, though it still enjoys some level of regulation by governmental agencies. Today's stock markets are so vast and complex that they can be confusing to even laypeople, much less the most seasoned investors.

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