A stock exchange is a form of exchange which provides services for stock brokers and traders to trade stocks, bonds, and other securities. Stock exchanges also provide facilities for issue and redemption of securities and other financial instruments, and capital events including the payment of income and dividends. Securities traded on a stock exchange include shares issued by companies, unit trusts, derivatives, pooled investment products and bonds.
To be able to trade a security on a certain stock exchange, it must be listed there. Usually, there is a central location at least for record keeping, but trade is increasingly less linked to such a physical place, as modern markets are electronic networks, which gives them advantages of increased speed and reduced cost of transactions. Trade on an exchange is by members only.
The initial offering of stocks and bonds to investors is by definition done in the primary market and subsequent trading is done in the secondary market. A stock exchange is often the most important component of a stock market. Supply and demand in stock markets are driven by various factors that, as in all free markets, affect the price of stocks (see stock valuation).
There is usually no compulsion to issue stock via the stock exchange itself, nor must stock be subsequently traded on the exchange. Such trading is said to be off exchange or over-the-counter. This is the usual way that derivatives and bonds are traded. Increasingly, stock exchanges are part of a global market for securities.
Famous quotes containing the words stock exchange, stock and/or exchange:
“The freedom to make a fortune on the Stock Exchange has been made to sound more alluring than freedom of speech.”
—John Mortimer (b. 1923)
“And anyone is free to condemn me to death
If he leaves it to nature to carry out the sentence.
I shall will to the common stock of air my breath
And pay a death tax of fairly polite repentance.”
—Robert Frost (18741963)
“The social kiss is an exchange of insincerity between two combatants on the field of social advancement. It places hygiene before affection and condescension before all else.”
—Sunday Correspondent (London, Aug. 12, 1990)