A stock market is where stocks are traded: where sellers and buyers come to agree on a price. Historically, stock exchanges existed in a physical location, and all transactions took place on the trading floor. One of the world’s most famous stock markets is the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
Yet as technology progresses, so does the stock market. Now we are seeing the rise of virtual stock exchanges that are made up of large computer networks will all trades performed electronically.
A company’s shares can be traded on the stock market only following its IPO, making this a secondary market. The large businesses listed on global stock exchanges do not trade stocks on a frequent basis. Stocks can only be purchased from an existing shareholder, not directly from the company. This rule also applies in reverse, so when selling your shares, they go to another investor, not back to the corporation.
The reason traders choose to invest in stock is because the perceived value of a company can vary greatly over time. Money can be made or lost; it depends on whether the trader’s perceptions of the stock value are in line with the market.
Trying to predict the price movements of stocks in the short term is nearly impossible. Generally, stocks do tend to appreciate in value in the long term, so many investors choose to have a diverse portfolio of stocks that they intend to keep for a long time. Bigger companies pay dividends to their shareholders, which is a portion of the company’s profits. The value of the share itself will not impact the dividend.
In order to trade stocks, there must be a seller and a buyer; as not all traders have the same agenda, stocks are bought and sold at different times and for different reasons. Someone may sell their stock for profit, others sell it in order to cut losses, and some because they believe the value of the stock is about to change either way.