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The stock market is a constellation of stock exchanges where securities, such as stocks, bonds, are bought and sold. In the United States, “stock market” Ու “Wall Street” can refer to the whole world of securities trading, including exchanges where public company shares are traded; markets where other securities are traded.
How does the stock market work?
The stock market helps companies raise funds to finance transactions by selling stocks, which creates wealth for individual investors.
Companies raise money in the stock market by selling equity to investors. These equities are known as equity shares. By listing stocks on stock exchanges, companies gain access to the capital they need and expand their business without borrowing. In exchange for the right to sell shares to the public, companies are required to disclose information տալ to give shareholders the right to conduct their business.
Investors make a profit by exchanging their money for stocks in the stock market. As companies invest that money in growing their business, investors reap the benefits as their stocks become more valuable over time, leading to a return on equity. In addition, companies pay dividends to their shareholders as their profits grow.
The performance of individual stocks varies greatly over an individual period, but the stock market as a whole has historically rewarded investors with an average annual return of about 10%, making it one of the most reliable ways to grow your money.
Stock market vs. stock exchange
Although terms are used interchangeably, the stock market is not the same as the stock market. Think of the stock market as a whole. The stock market includes many stock exchanges, such as the NASDAQ or New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in the US
When people talk about how the stock market works, they mean thousands of public companies that are listed on many stock exchanges. And in general, the stock market can be considered to cover a very wide space outside of bonds, mutual funds, stock exchanges (ETFs) and other securities.
What is the stock market index?
The stock market index tracks the work of a group of stocks that represents a particular industry or segment of the stock market, such as technology, energy, and transportation. Often one of the three major indexes is used as a shorthand to describe the performance of the US stock market as a whole.
- Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA): DJIA consists of 30 blue shares of US industrial companies.
- NYSE Composite Index. The NYSE Composite Index tracks all common stock price movements on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
- S&P 500: The S&P 500 represents the 500 largest companies in the US economy.
Other types of markets
The stock market generally refers to markets և stock exchanges where equity stocks are traded և related securities. Other types of financial assets have their own markets.
- OTC Markets. The OTC describes securities trading that takes place outside of major exchanges. OTC trading is usually done directly between sellers, buyers, and prices may or may not be publicly available. Most bonds are traded in foreign currency, and many stocks, including penny stocks, are also sold without a prescription.
- Commodity markets. Raw materials such as steel, coal and oil are sold in commodity markets. There are about 50 major commodity markets in the world that facilitate trading in a wide range of products.
- Derivatives. Derivatives are financial contracts, such as options, the value of which is related to the underlying asset. These are mainly contractual bets on whether the value of individual securities will increase or decrease. For experienced investors, derivatives can be very lucrative ways to hedge their bets while investing, they can be incredibly risky for beginners.
- Foreign exchange markets. Forex trading is the international frontier of currency exchange. Forex traders use the constantly fluctuating value of different currencies to make a profit, helping to provide liquidity for international trading.
- Cryptocurrency:. Bitcoin և Ethereum are cryptocurrencies or decentralized digital assets based on blockchain technology. Cryptocurrencies are traded on specialized cryptocurrencies.
How to invest in the stock market
If you want to invest in the stock market, the process of starting is easier than you think.
- Decide which account you want to open. From retirement savings to college savings, from short-term goals to long-term goals, there really is an investment account for everything.
- Open a brokerage account. Once you have decided what kind of account you want, you are ready to open an account with a provider called a broker. When choosing a company, consider their fees և available investment options.
- Invest money. To get started, you need to make an initial deposit. You can also create regular deposits to automate your investments in the future.
- Choose your investments. Once your account is opened, you can buy or sell securities. You can choose from individual stocks և bonds or mutual funds, index funds և stock exchanges (ETFs) containing hundreds of individual stocks. Many experts recommend a diversified, resource-based approach to minimizing the risk of a bad investment losing your money.
- Buy your investments. Once you have decided what you want to buy, just enter the tick symbol in the purchase box և indicate how many shares you want to buy.