Organized and regulated financial market where securities (bonds, notes, shares) are bought and sold at prices governed by the forces of demand and supply. Stock exchanges basically serve as (1) primary markets where corporations, governments, municipalities, and other incorporated bodies can raise capital by channeling savings of the investors into productive ventures; and (2) secondary markets where investors can sell their securities to other investors for cash, thus reducing the risk of investment and maintaining liquidity in the system. Stock exchanges impose stringent rules, listing requirements, and statutory requirements that are binding on all listed and trading parties. Trades in the older exchanges are conducted on the floor (called the 'trading floor') of the exchange itself, by shouting orders and instructions (called open outcry system). On modern exchanges, trades are conducted over telephone or online. Almost all exchanges are 'auction exchanges' where buyers enter competitive bids and sellers enter competitive orders through a trading day. Some European exchanges, however, use 'periodic auction' method in which round-robin calls are made once a trading day. The first stock exchange was opened in Amsterdam in 1602; the three largest exchanges in the world are (in the descending order) New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), London Stock Exchange (LSE), and the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE). Called also stock market. See also exchange.
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