An exchange, also known as a stock exchange, is a place where stocks, which are units of ownership in a company, are bought and sold by investors. It’s like a marketplace where buyers and sellers come together to trade stocks.
When a company wants to raise money, it can do so by issuing stocks. Investors can then buy these stocks and become part owners of the company. When the company does well, the value of its stocks may go up, allowing investors to make a profit if they sell their shares. However, if the company does poorly, the value of its stocks may go down, causing investors to lose money.
To buy or sell stocks, investors need to go through a broker, who acts as a middleman between the buyer and seller. The broker will place an order on behalf of the investor, either to buy or sell a certain number of shares at a certain price.
The exchange facilitates the trading of these stocks by providing a platform where brokers can come together to match buyers and sellers. The exchange sets the rules for trading, such as the minimum price increment at which a stock can be traded, and provides the infrastructure to support trading, such as a trading floor or an electronic trading platform.
The most well-known exchange in the United States is the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), which has a physical trading floor where brokers can buy and sell stocks. Another popular exchange is the NASDAQ, which is entirely electronic and does not have a physical trading floor.
Exchanges also play a role in regulating the companies whose stocks are traded on their platform. Companies must meet certain requirements, such as minimum financial standards and disclosure obligations, in order to have their stocks listed on an exchange.
Lastly, an exchange is a place where stocks are bought and sold, and it provides a platform for brokers to come together and match buyers and sellers. The exchange sets the rules for trading and regulates the companies whose stocks are traded on its platform.