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History & Processes of the Stock Market
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Abstract Keywords can be transferred from owner to owner. The stock market acts as a means for owners, or investors, to quickly buy or sell their stocks, or shares. Traditionally, US stock markets, also know as equity markets, have focused almost exclusively on the publicly listed equity securities of US based corporations and have traded them through a floor based broker system. However, over the last decade, stock markets, traditionally based around a set handful of specific stock exchanges, have also introduced trading in a huge variety of new securities, such as bonds, derivatives, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), options, and even commodities. There has also been a dramatic move away from the old face-to-face method of trading securities and towards electronic automated trading. Additionally, the reach of the US stock market has expanded globally to include the trading of securities issued by foreign corporations between not only US-based buyers and sellers, but also foreign investors as well. Different stock markets throughout the US and throughout the world now aggressively compete for business from corporate issuers. Major Asian and European corporates are just as likely to list their shares in New York as in Tokyo or London. History Historically, the stock market was based at a fixed physical location. Within the US, while the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the American Stock Exchange (AMEX), both based in New York City, are by far the largest, there are also a large number of smaller regional exchanges. These regional exchanges are located in Boston, Cincinnati, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Spokane. The largest over the counter stock market, where stocks are traded electronically through a computer network rather than at a physical exchange, is the NASDAQ Stock Market (National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation system). NASDAQ had gained prominence in the late 1990s because a bulk of the companies listed were in the telecom, technology or media sectors (TMT) – which all experienced huge price appreciation. The prices of NASDAQ stocks peaked in 2001 and then entered into a steady, sharp decline. The decline in prices resulted in huge investor losses and a number of new government initiatives regulating the operations of stock markets as well as

History Technology Squeezes Pricing Financing the Private Sector

Viewpoints Terms & Concepts Bibliography Suggested Reading

This article describes the concept of a stock market, outlines its historical development and its role (in a capitalist economy) in raising finances for corporations to expand. Different exchanges in the U.S. and around the world as well as the rapid development of the system of stock trading are also discussed. The process whereby a corporation first issues shares to the public through an IPO and then how those shares are later traded on the secondary market is explained. Specifically, the increased role of technology, the diminished role of traditional stock brokers, and how the stock market industry has moved well into a new era of computerized screen-based trading is reviewed.

The stock market is an organized system for the trading of securities. A security is a type of financial asset issued by a corporation and represents a legal interest in that corporation that

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Paris. K.” which gives the right to trades securities on the exchange. are felt by other stock markets throughout the globe. which is now a part of the New Yorkbased NASDAQ.. is became widely viewed as a barometer of the economy where huge fortunes could be made – or lost. The NYSE can trace its roots back to 1792 where traders met on a sidewalk on Wall Street in New York City. suffered a dramatic drop and wiped hundreds of billions of dollars in wealth out of the personal savings of the same ordinary households that first began buying stock just a few years earlier. particularly for the TMT heavy NASDAQ. The golden era of the stock market. whether in terms of daily prices or how the exchange actually functions. and Toronto. MLS Keywords AMEX Bid-ask spread Broker – dealer Decimalization ECN Electronic Trading Equities Initial Public Offering Liquidity NASDAQ New York Stock Exchange Price Discovery Program Trading ROE: Return on Equity Secondary Market Securities and Exchange Commission Stock Exchange TMT: Technology – Media – Telecom Transparency Volatility largest market for publicly listed equity securities. equity IPO volumes fell 30% year-over-year between 2000 and 2001 and another 47% between 2001 and 2002 (Hintz. 2003). By the 1920s. IPO volumes rose from $29. Trading margins expanded and the market for Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) soared in volume. The major over-the-counter market in Europe was The European Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation system (EASDAQ). to a new era where the stock market has become one of the most heavily regulated institutions in the national economy. Internationally. marked a sort of unofficial beginning to the Great Depression. Outside of the US. prices.D. households began to individually pick and buy stocks – as opposed to merely investing in mutual funds selected by their financial advisor. & Tang. & Tang. the number of people employed in the equity divisions of Wall Street financial institutions. The equity business grew its sales and trading activities as well as its research coverage. Tokyo. more and more are moving towards screenbased systems where a physical presence at the exchange is not required. The equity culture was finally established in the American psyche. B. Since 1868. • All Rights Reserved . Technology Squeezes Pricing Today. K.. the stock market had progressed so rapidly in terms of both daily trading volume as well as the number of companies listed..S. In 2000. Ph. B. K.8 billion in 1999 (Hintz. Today. which arguably may never be repeated for a generation or more. all major industrialized nations also have stock markets. albeit Page 2 how corporations disclose financial information and communicate with their shareholders.9 billion in 1995 to more than $61.. expanded rapidly. with the Return on Equity (ROE) attained by Wall Street firms averaging over 40% (Hintz. L. & Tang. 2003). Tiwary. as the TMT boom wound down. represented by a “seat. federal securities laws of the United States require the registration of stock exchanges and of all securities that are listed for sale to the public. Institutional equity earnings peaked in 1999. membership. the stock market is back in full force as a major. Today.. B. in fact. activities on NYSE. Institutional equities headcount. could be acquired through purchasing a seat from other members. L. It officially adopted the name of the New York Stock and Exchange in 1863. Hong Kong.366. 2003). All stock exchanges have their own listing standards concerning the type of security listed and any possible restrictions on the investors who trade in it as well as requirements for continuing disclosure of financial information by the issuer. the distinction is rapidly becoming blurred and intertwined between a centralized stock market and a national screen based system as there has been a wave of consolidations and alliances between many different exchanges. Since the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is the world’s EBSCO Research Starters® • Copyright © 2008 EBSCO Publishing Inc. For the first time. A security must be registered with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and be approved for listing by a registered stock exchange before it can be traded on any exchange.. More importantly. the world’s largest stock markets are located in London.History & Processes of the Stock Market Edited by Richa S. Since 1953. While some international exchanges have a centralized location. occurred from 1996 to 2001. L.. The landscape of the stock markets and the exact method of how they operate are rapidly changing and are still very much works in progress. many ordinary U. The crash also marked a turning point from an era where the federal government did as little as possible to interfere with the markets. The stock market crash of 1929. the number of seats has been limited to 1.

which use supercomputers to match huge buy-sell orders form institutional buyers and sellers in a manner of milliseconds. the difference between the bid-ask price could run as high as 1%. this bid-ask spread has been considerably tightened. Through raising finance from the U. or $50. particularly for stocks that trade in large volumes. Under the old floor based method of trading. the stock market is increasingly a globalized electronic system based on an advanced real time technology platform encompassing investors and equities form around the world. The distinction between fraction based trading and decimal based trading may seem insignificant when dealing with a few hundred shares. the last decade has seen the birth and explosive growth of a parallel market in Electronic Communication Networks (ECNs). On one side. with the rapid implementation of electronic trading. which is one one-hundredth of a cent. Tiwary. The difference between these two is merely two basis points. An ask price is what the broker will expect in return for selling a stock. ECNs actually compete fiercely for trading volume with the established exchanges. More than half of this trading is executed not by individual investors picking up the phone and placing an order. or decimals. or $50.. or more. However. fully transparent pricing made possible through electronic trading systems and the ensuing tight bid-ask spreads are highly beneficial to the investor community. Decimalization. 2% or even more of the stock’s price. or narrow. MLS declining.50 if they sold it. 2004). the world’s largest electronic stock trading system. is perhaps the most significant issue facing the stock market for the next decade as it directly impacts investor protection in terms of accessing the best possible price. Electronic trading is fraught with controversy.ask spread signifies that there is a large difference between the two different prices. Over the last three years. Daily trading volume on the NYSE. Apart from trading of stocks that takes place on the floor of an exchange. (Hiliman. Thain.History & Processes of the Stock Market Edited by Richa S. and NASDAQ. Ph. still remains to be fully determined. Electronic trading and price discovery through an electronic system. the Chief Executive Officer of the New York Stock Exchange Group. corporations were able to rapidly grow and industrialize the national economy in the 19th and 20th Centuries. difference. at the same time. The price is now usually expressed in basis points. In fact. A typical bid-ask spread could easily be half a point. AMEX. That is. Because the process Page 3 EBSCO Research Starters® • Copyright © 2008 EBSCO Publishing Inc.5 cents. Pricing is a highly contentious issue for many constituents in the stock market industry. but through automated systems known as algorithmic trading. Program trading has substantially increased daily trading volumes on the stock markets which is widely perceived as beneficial for investors. on the day that John A. virtually every significant player in the stock market has heavily invested in program trading technology in order to help make trading more cost efficient as well as to help formulate complex trading strategies. stock market. prices were expressed in fractions of a dollar where the smallest movement was one-eighth a point. the broker-dealer community is faced with diminishing profits and inevitable job losses. they would receive 50 ½. This acquisition formally signified that the stock market was no longer a localized market composed of individual brokers meeting face to face to trade securities by verbally agreeing to a price. lead to prices being expressed in hundredths or a dollar. when NYSE formally completed the acquisition of Euronext. the corporate owner of the NYSE. or 12. but considering the billion plus daily share trading volume in the US representing trillions of dollars.9% of total NYSE volume in 1989. a bid-ask spread for a share of XYZ corporation might be 50 ½ to 50 ¾ .49999 to 50. program trading has dramatically increased volatility where 1% or 2% daily price movements are far more common today than in decades past. a European screen based equity trading system spanning the continent.D. such as NYSE. he was greeted with a chorus of boos from NYSE traders – not least because of the substantial job cuts that resulted from NYSE’s aggressive implementation of electronic trading systems. The exact roles that human beings will play in operating this giant financial cyber world. Even major media conglomerates generate a significant share of their advertising revenue by reporting on the minute to minute developments in the market. rose to 18% in 2001 and to 27% in 2002.S. If they already owned it. Financing the Private Sector Stock markets play a vital role in free market economic systems by enabling corporations to raise capital in order to expand. NYSE seats are now sold for some $3.75 to buy the stock. now routinely tops 4 billion per day (New York Stock Exchange). other than simply maintaining the machines. under the old fraction system. first introduced in 2001.5 million each and have been sold for as much as $4 million. Instead. or half a dollar. also referred to as program trading. Program trading accounted for approximately 9. stood on the balcony overlooking the old trading floor and formally announced the completion of the acquisition of Euronext. which was limited to about 100 million shares daily in the early 1980s. A typical bid-ask spread might be as tight as 50. Large mutual fund companies managing trillions of dollars in assets with multiple portfolio managers have found program trading to be an easy way to reduce execution charges and “stretch” the budgets they allocate toward stock trading commissions during weak business cycles. Under the decimal system. The bid–ask spread is the difference between the two. A tight spread signifies that there is a small. profit center for Wall Street firms as well as a huge center of attention for the investing public at large. For example. an investor would have to pay 50 ¾ dollars. and it has been as high as 40% of total volume by 2003 (Hiliman.50001. • All Rights Reserved . The NYSE defines program trading as the purchase or sale of at least 15 stocks with the value of the trade exceeding $1 million. A bid price is what a broker will pay to acquire a stock. the difference is enormous. In absolute terms. 2004). Perhaps the most significant development for both the NYSE as well as the global industry of trading stocks occurred in April 2007. rather than the traditional floor based face to face verbal interaction. A wide bid . On the other hand. Program trading is the generic name given to various trading strategies defined as the simultaneous purchase or sale of a group of stocks based on a mathematical set of rules. A price of a stock in the market is expressed as either a bid price or a sell price.

is an essential means to fund their growth as they may have only limited access to debt financing and then only at costly rates of interest. While brokers and investors alike are satisfied when stock prices rise. 1987. 1929. stock markets have been at the leading edge of protecting shareholder rights. a drop of over 22 percent in a single day. Viewpoints Apart form the rising of new capital for business expansion and the trading of shares in the secondary market. if any. While drops of this magnitude are rare. issue of stock on the primary market. Over the last decade. The growth of program trading. If the price rises. the stock market is one of the most heavily regulated parts of the entire economy. This is because the price of a company’s stock in the secondary market influences the amount of funds that can be raised in the future. decimalization. in October 1998. The very first place to look to see how newly released information will affect the future of a company. Managing the effects of stock market volatility is an important area within the growing field of financial risk management – which only came of age in Wall Street after the multi billion dollar losses caused by the collapse of a major hedge far from resolved. for better or for worse. Prior to the crash of 1987. today it not uncommon for stock prices to rise or fall by 3 percent or more in a single week. the ultimate question of how exactly the equity markets will function – or more specifically what role. The company does not usually become involved in the secondary trading of its stock. Stock exchanges essentially function as secondary markets. from the newest to the largest global multinationals. who are effectively represented by corporate management. and attempting to improve standards of corporate governance. Corporations raise finance through selling shares in the stock market. By providing investors with the assurance and reliability of being able to trade shares at a later date. An IPO met with lackluster investor interest or declining prices in the secondary market will make future capital raising for the company more challenging. the exchanges support the performance of the primary markets and thus the entire capital raising process of corporations. the stock market posted its largest one-day decline ever when the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 508 points. the right to buy more shares at a specific price. corporations directly receive all the proceeds of the initial stock sales. the largest single-day drop in the stock market occurred on October 29. stock markets also act as a means to influence and improve corporate governance. the generally increased levels of market volatility will mean that there will be many instances when investors – from private individuals. and intensifying with the scandals in 2001 and 2002 involving such corporations as WorldCom and Enron. In fact. shareholders may then find fault with management and possibly try to force changes in management structure. then the owners are happy with management and will perhaps even award management with more salary and more stock options. the decline of NASDAQ profitability and the growth of ECNs Page 4 EBSCO Research Starters® • Copyright © 2008 EBSCO Publishing Inc. as measured by the ROE of their equity divisions. usually with the help of an investment bank. The profitability of equity trading for major Wall Street firms. has fallen from approximately 40% at the peak of the TMT boom of 1999-2000 to 5% in 2006. traditional voice brokers will play . While corporations do not directly benefit from sales on the secondary market. although. Managers of all corporations. are also keenly interested in the activities of their stocks in the secondary market since the managers usually hold a large number of shares for their personal benefit as well as a large number of stock options – that is. secondary markets determine the wealth of the corporation’s owners . Economic activity and gross national product is primarily determined by the activities of public corporations. The stock market acts as the center of exchange of information about more than merely the pricing of stocks. Starting from the Panic of 1837. finding potential investors who may be interested in purchasing shares. it is stock exchange authorities rather than any federal or state regulatory entities that now conduct most investigations into violations of insider trading rules as well as take action to ensure that listed corporates adhere to requirements for public disclosure of financial results.the stockholders. If expansion funds are needed. Effectively. and eventually stetting a price for the shares which are sold in an initial public offering (IPO) in a primary market.. the government began a steady century-long process on implementing tougher new laws on how exactly corporations are allowed to raise money from the investing public as well as laws on to disclosing information about their financial results. widows and orphans to state pension plans and insurance companies – suffer major losses. Tiwary. The stockmarket crash of 1929 led to the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). the institutional equities business is in trouble. Ph. will also continue to be of major interests to policy makers. If the price falls. Then. • All Rights Reserved . and then the later success of the stock on the secondary market. On October 19. from time to time. is the movement of the company’s share price on the stock market. which is now the leading governmental regulatory agency overseeing public security markets in the US. which became a hot topic following the TMT meltdown post-2000. Long Term Capital Management (LTCM). Investor protection.History & Processes of the Stock Market Edited by Richa S. when the market fell by about 13 percent (New York Stock Exchange). the securities can be bought and sold on the secondary market. Public corporations are owned by stockholders. additional stock can be issued in the primary market. This arrangement makes it easier and more cost effective for corporations to capitalize building and expanding their businesses. MLS of raising capital from the public may expose investors to losses.D. insuring transparency of financial information. corporate managers closely monitor the organization’s stock price in secondary markets. A successful IPO and strong future share price in the after market should ensure continued funding for new investment. it may repurchase shares or offer new shares. As a business model. For smaller. new companies. The investment bank advises the corporation on the exact means of how to sell the securities and deals with issues such as filing documentation with the appropriate regulatory authorities. In this market. On the technology front.

70-71. Setting for the investing public at large the exact price of a stock is one of the fundamental purposes of a stock market. The era officially ended in March 2001 with the peak in the value of NASDAQ. Retrieved April Page 5 EBSCO Research Starters® • Copyright © 2008 EBSCO Publishing Inc. Volatility: The degree to which stock prices fluctuate. size. 2007. Only the largest global firms on Wall Street are certain to remain market share leaders and retain their position as major stock market participants in the next five years. ROE: Return on Equity: A measure of profitability used by corporations to assess the success. NASDAQ: National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation. Ph. from EBSCO Online Database Business Source Complete. R. For the buyer of a stock. • All Rights Reserved . the stock market has now become a business of scale: technology. 2003). TMT: Technology – Media – Telecom: A generic phrase used to refer to a broad group of stocks that appreciated in price rapidly during the dot com era of the late 1990s. Also describes the availability of fair and accurate information about the prices of securities. electronic based trading not just in the US. Transparency: Term used to describe the degree to which corporate management discloses fair and accurate information about their company’s performance to the investing Liquid markets are those where a large number of shares can be easily bough or sold. Tiwary. Secondary Market: The trading of all shares except those that are first issued during an IPO. and speed of processing as measured by milliseconds rather than minutes. narrow bid-ask spreads of tiny fractions of basis points. The conflicts of regulators.improving their business mix and building scale to improve profitability. Wall Street equity market participants have embraced the same strategic initiative . A trading system whereby orders to buy or sell shares are calculated and automatically executed by a computer system based on a complex set of mathematical rules.D. The term broker is often used interchangeably with the concept of broker -dealer. Securities markets: Opportunities exist to enhance investor confidence and improve listing program oversight: GAO-04-75. Program trading: Also known as algorithmic trading. IPO: Initial Public Offering: The very first time that a company issues shares to the public at large for purchase. or failure.ebscohost. MLS have reduced realized commissions per share by 34% since 1999 and are expected to further narrow commissions by 4% in 2007 (Hintz & Tang. Conversely. but globally as well. Equity owners are effectively the owners of the corporation.History & Processes of the Stock Market Edited by Richa S. G. 1. independent computer system that enables the matching of huge numbers of buy-sell orders for stocks in milliseconds. (2004). (2004).aspx?direct=true&db=bt h&AN=15373892&site=ehost-live Hiliman. Equity in this case is measured by the value of the assets of that business unit less its liabilities. it is the highest price. only a few players with strong institutional equity client lists and an ability to invest $100 million or more each year in continuing technology will succeed in making the transition to the new size-based model of the stock market. or vol. Unfortunately. High volatility. NADSAQ. GAO Reports. Liquidity: Term used to describe trading volume. In such a business of scale and speed. Traders Magazine. which will continue to depress employment levels – from brokers and salesmen to research analysts and operations staff. Effectively. Broker – dealer: A broker acts as an intermediary between a buyer and seller of a stock. implies that prices are moving upwards or downwards quickly relative to historic averages. exchanges are moving away from physical venues toward computer systems which may be scattered in different locations. http://search. Equities: A term used interchangeably with the concept of stock. 17(233). With narrowing margins in its core business. and the American Stock Exchange (AMEX).. Major exchanges include the New York Stock Exchange. A dealer buys or sells stock from their won account. for the seller. Persistently falling bid-ask spreads and squeezed profit margins will lead to a war of attrition as Wall Street competes over equity trade flow in the coming years. will determine the road ahead. Specifically. Bibliography Bresiger. Stock Exchange: The physical venue or the exact platform where stock trading actually takes places. Illiquid markets are those where it would be difficult to trade in large number of shares. Price Discovery: The process of finding the best possible price at which to trade a stock. this is the lowest price available. the equity portion of a corporation represents all assets of a corporation less all liabilities. Terms & Concepts Bid – Ask Spread: The difference between the price that a broker offers to buy a stock (bid price) and the price a broker offers to sell it (ask). Increasingly. of their individual business units. these steps might not be sufficient to change the inevitability of purely automated. ECN: Electronic Communication Network: A private. Retrieved April 12.

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