How Do Stock Markets Work?
How do stock markets work? If you are considering investing some money, you may be wondering exactly how the stock markets work. You are off to a good start with that question, because many investors do not actually understand how stock markets function day-to-day. On the surface, the workings of the stock market may seem complicated, but they really are not. You don't need to know every detail about the market to become a successful investor. A general knowledge will get you on your way. From there you can spend your efforts researching individual companies.
The stock market consists of publicly-held companies that allow investors to buy into the company by purchasing stocks. Stocks are essentially certificates that show that you are a share holder, or part owner of that company. In some cases you can actually get a certificate that you can hold on to, but today most stocks are traded and held at brokerages. You purchase the stocks through your broker and they charge you a small commission to handle the transaction. This makes buying and selling stocks much faster and more efficient.
One thing that makes stock markets work is the fact that everyone can actually own a part of any business listed on the stock exchange. Another is that selling shares in a company allows a company to generate money to grow their business. Hopefully all goes well and everyone makes money.
In the United States, the New York Stock Exchange is the major exchange. On television you may have seen the apparent chaos that goes on on the trading floor. This is where your order goes through after you place it with your brokerage. A broker on the floor will match your buy order up with someone who is trying to sell a like amount of shares of stock. The reverse is also true. After your order is matched up you will get notification that you now own or have sold the shares of the company you are trading.
This is how stock markets work now, but things are moving more towards computerized trading. There could be a day soon when all stock market transactions are done on computers.