Updated: Jun 6, 2020
Born out of the need for companies to raise capital in an effective way, stock markets have existed for centuries. They’re a place where buyers and sellers can meet and exchange stocks—shares representing ownership in a business.
The first-ever stock market was established in Belgium in 1531. At that time, however, the traders would exchange bonds and promissory notes instead of actual stocks. Later in 1602, the first real stock exchange was established in Amsterdam by the Dutch East India Company.
Stock markets exist because of a number of reasons, besides helping companies acquire capital, they help people increase their wealth and increase investments in a country’s economy.
There are 60 major stock markets in the world. They vary in size, with markets worth trillions of dollars of the high-end spectrum and markets with their values in billions of the lower end.
Here’s a list of the world’s largest stock markets.
New York Stock Exchange, United States
At the top of the list is, of course, the world’s largest stock exchange—the New York Stock Exchange. Founded in 1792, this stock market has 2400 listed companies with $22.9 trillion of market capitalization. It accounts for 40% of the global stock market capitalization.
NASDAQ, United States
Also located in the United States, NASDAQ is the largest stock exchange for the technology companies. Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Tesla and more are listed here. With the trading volume of $1.26 trillion per month, NASDAQ is worth $10.8 trillion.
Tokyo Stock Exchange, Japan
The Tokyo Stock Exchange, founded in 1878, remains one of the largest stock markets in the world even after it was suspended for 4 years after WWII. It has a total of 2300 listed companies, which includes giants like Honda, Suzuki, Sony and Toyota. The market capitalization of the market is worth $5.67 trillion.
Shanghai Stock Exchange, China
Based in the city of Shanghai and administered by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), the Shanghai Stock Exchange is a non-profit organization with more than 1000 listed companies and a market capitalization of $4.02 trillion. Two types of stock exchanges take place in this market, which includes trade in local currency as well as in US dollars.
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