Trading: Understanding the Stock Market

The Stock Market: An Overview

The stock market is the term given to a collection of exchanges where shares in various companies are traded. They exist globally and every developed nation has at least one stock exchange, if not several. The key financial centers of London, Tokyo, New York and Germany are well known, but this is not the complete list as you can find them in Canada, Brazil, India and many other nations.

The two main exchanges in the United States are the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Wall Street and the NASDAQ, which used to be geared toward the over-the-counter (OTC) market but has evolved to include other securities, although it tends to list stocks. technology stocks more than any other. The shares themselves must meet the exchange criteria before they can be listed. There are other exchanges and it can be confusing as to where a stock is actually listed.

Regulation and Supervision:

All over the world there are regulatory bodies that manage and control inventories. In the United States, this body is the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and its mandate is to ensure that the interests of investors are protected, among other things. Its statement says its “mission is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation.” One of the most important things to keep in mind is that the SEC is not aligned with the government or with any political party.

Value types:

In general, securities are publicly traded or over-the-counter. It is the former that is most associated with stock markets and trading. Listed securities must meet various financial and reporting requirements before they can be listed and are then regulated by the SEC as well as the exchange on which they are listed. The values ‚Äč‚Äčthemselves can be in any type of company.

The other type of securities are OTC, which are securities for companies that are not publicly traded, they can even be private or small, closed companies that are too small or don’t meet all the criteria to be listed on full exchanges but want to establish some outside. investment. These companies are usually listed on the “pink sheets,” but the information may be minimal and care should be taken when selecting an OTC, especially since many failed companies are listed on the “pink sheets.”

Who does what:

Stockbrokers are also known as “registered representatives” in the US. They are licensed by the boards and the SEC and their role is to buy and sell securities on behalf of investors. They may act solely as a broker and buy and sell precisely the securities they are asked to buy for you or they may be more proactive and trade on your behalf selecting stocks that meet pre-agreed criteria.

Stock analysts are the people who fact check and dig into the numbers behind trades. They will write research reports and issue statements stating whether an investment opportunity is a ‘buy’, ‘sell’ or ‘hold’. As an investor, it is up to you to decide whether to follow the advice or make your own assessment. Obviously, it is quite possible to run into conflicting opinions for the same stocks, as much depends on surrounding factors and personal opinion on the “softer” side of information and corporate expectations.

Portfolio managers are again skilled traders whose role is to manage a reserve of money. This can be an individual’s portfolio or one for an investment company. They are used by many of the areas, such as mutual fund companies, hedge funds, and pension plans, as the professional responsible for running and managing their operations. This is in contrast to investment bankers who are more focused on helping companies seeking to go public through an IPO or companies undergoing mergers and acquisitions.


There is a wide variety of indices that are the measures used to assess changes in the stock market. These indices are made up of a set of stocks and indicate their strength in a comparative manner. The most famous is the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), which is a compilation of the 30 largest stocks in the US. The numbers reported every day for the Dow demonstrate how well those 30 stocks have performed that day. . This gives an indication of the general health of the markets and how confident investors are in general.

An alternative to the Down is Standard and Poor’s S&P500, which is constructed from the 500 largest-cap US stocks traded. When taken together, the Dow Jones and S&P are recognized as providing a good indication of the overall health of the nation’s economy. There are many other indices that collect data on small or medium-sized companies, technology stocks, or many other criteria.


Trading the stock markets today is truly a global affair with stocks for corporations, large and small, being traded. There are numerous players working together to create a market that is efficient and provides opportunities for large and small, institutional and private investors to participate. The indices used to measure the market are a valuable barometer of the nation’s and global economic health and of these and statements made in reference to the nation. It is for this last reason that even if you do not have the resources or desire to invest, it is still recommended to follow up and try to understand the mechanisms of the stock markets, as they can help guide towards logical financial positions and decisions.

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