A stock market, equity market or share market is the aggregation of buyers and sellers (a loose network of economic transactions, not a physical facility or discrete entity) of stocks (also called shares); these may include securities listed on a stock exchange.
Trade in stock markets means the transfer for money of a stock or security from a seller to a buyer. This requires these two parties to agree on a price. Equities (stocks or shares) confer an ownership interest in a particular company. Participants in the stock market range from small individual stock investors to larger traders investors, who can be based anywhere in the world, and may include banks, insurance companies or pension funds, and hedge funds. Their buy or sell orders may be executed on their behalf by a stock exchange trader.
A potential buyer bids a specific price for a stock, and a potential seller asks a specific price for the same stock. Buying or selling at market means you will accept any ask price or bid price for the stock, respectively. When the bid and ask prices match, a sale takes place, on a first-come-first-served basis if there are multiple bidders or askers at a given price.
One of the very nice things about investing in the stock market is that you learn about all different aspects of the economy. — Ron Chernow
The purpose of a stock exchange is to facilitate the exchange of securities between buyers and sellers, thus providing a marketplace (virtual or real). The exchanges provide real-time trading information on the listed securities, facilitating price discovery.
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is a physical exchange, with a hybrid market for placing orders both electronically and manually on the trading floor. Orders executed on the trading floor enter by way of exchange members and flow down to a floor broker, who goes to the floor trading post specialist for that stock to trade the order. The specialist's job is to match buy and sell orders using open outcry. If a spread exists, no trade immediately takes place—in this case the specialist should use his/her own resources (money or stock) to close the difference after his/her judged time.