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Stock Exchanges - An Introduction

May 21, 2008
As a new entrant into the stock market you will keep hearing about the terms NYSE, AMEX and NASDAQ and more of the international ones nowadays like HangSeng or the LSE or even the Luxembourg stock exchange .

These are stock exchanges where the exchange of stocks takes place between the buyers and the sellers. In effect these are the actual stock markets but the term stock market is used in a broader term to signify the overall stock holdings, indices, exchanges and everything else related to stocks.

New York Stock Exchange started in 1792 and is located at the epitome of the US financial icon street called the Wall Street. It is undoubtedly one of the largest exchanges in the country. All the companies aspire to be listed here so there shares can be traded on this exchange but before a company can be listed here they have to complete certain set of criteria in terms of financial strength as well as the industry they operate in.

As a beginner you may think that you can trade in the NYSE, you cannot, so you will either have to be a broker or a route your buy or sell order through a broker. Now if you want to be a broker on the NYSE, you will need to cough a million dollars to become a broker on NYSE or as they say buy seat at the NYSE. These brokers can then take your orders regarding selling or buying a stock.

Similar to NYSE is American stock exchange which is again in the financial district of the country called New York. The American exchange has stocks for trading but also has options for trading. The AMEX can trade smaller companies than traded in NYSE and hence it is attractive to a lot of companies.

NASDAQ is the baby of them all though not in terms of the sheer size of companies listed on it and the full form of NASDAQ is National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations. It began in 1971 and has almost any company you could think of listed there. Historically though it was known for technology companies like Microsoft and Intel and a lot of new technology start ups like to list here. This exchange does not have a physical building and it works a computer network where buyers and sellers meet through computer software and sell or buy stocks.

If you are international investor there are stock exchanges apart from America in other countries which you will keep hearing like the Bombay Stock Exchange, Hong Kong Stock Exchange or Hang Seng, Luxembourg stock Exchange or even the FTSE.

Make sure you enough about the exchange you want to trade on as that can help you decide the initial amounts for investing and the ease of investing.
About the Author
Amit is an investor on the stock markets who learned using the stock markets for beginners guide and helps people on stock market investing fundamentals for beginners.
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