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An Overview of the World’s Largest Stock Markets

Virtually every country in the world has its own stock market.  That means that at any given time, a stock exchange is opening or closing its trading day.  Processing this amount of information is hard to comprehend for all but the most experienced traders.  If you’re following world economies, here are the biggest markets that will give you the best overview and the most options.

Shanghai Stock Exchange

This is the fifth largest stock market in the world and one of only two exchanges that functions completely independently of the People’s Republic of China.  The SSE has three main securities categories: bonds, funds, and stocks.  Tight capital controls keep this exchange from being totally open to foreign investors.  The largest SSE company is PetroChina.

London Stock Exchange

LSE boasts the oldest stock exchange in the world (since 1801) and also ranks as the fourth largest.  It can be found in London City close to St. Paul’s Cathedral.  With companies from over 70 different companies, it is also the most international.  It allows companies of different sizes to compete against one another, with the largest companies on the Premium Listed Main Market, smaller companies on the Alternative Investment Market.

Tokyo Stock Exchange

With over 2,000 companies, TSE is the third largest stock exchange.  It works in conjunction with the London Stock Exchange to share technology and products.  Tokyo also divides its companies into the First Section for bigger companies, mid-sized companies go in the Second Section, and the Mothers Section is for startups.  There are 10 foreign and 94 domestic securities companies that trade on the TSE.


Headquartered in New York City, NASDAQ is the second largest exchange in the world.  It has around 3,400 companies and with its main index being the NASDAQ Composite.  The NASDAQ OMX Group owns the exchange, which trades equities, commodities, derivatives, structured products, options, fixed income, and futures.  The S&P 500 index follows NASDAQ’s stock market.

New York Stock Exchange

The NYSE, also located in New York City, is the biggest stock exchange market in the world and considered the top listing location for companies of all sizes from around the globe.  The exchange is operated by NYSE Euronext (which resulted from combining Euronext N.V. and NYSE Group, Inc.).  NYSE has a wide range of financial products and services, including market data, bonds, equities, exchange-traded products (ETPs), options, and futures.  It encompasses over 80% of the S&P 500 indexes volume and 90% of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

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