U.S. Stock Markets
NASDAQ - National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations
While similar in purpose, the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations (Nasdaq), and the American Stock Exchange (AMEX) are also unique from one another. The AMEX is the third-largest stock exchange by trading volume in the United States. In 2008, AMEX was acquired by NYSE Euronext. The Nasdaq is another American stock exchange, also located in New York City. Nasdaq holds a higher trading volume per day than any other stock exchange in the world. Both the Nasdaq and the AMEX provide a platform for exchange where buyers and sellers meet. However, there are several differences between these two exchanges.
The Nasdaq is significantly larger than the AMEX, as noted previously. Another key difference is the method of exchange: The AMEX is auction-based, which means that the specialists are physically present at the exchange and the buying and selling of stocks is done verbally. The Nasdaq, on the other hand, is a market-maker based exchange and is completely electronic meaning specialists are not required to match trades. The two exchanges also differ in their focus. The AMEX includes innovative trades, boasting the second-largest options trading market and it helped pioneer the inclusion of exchange-traded funds. The Nasdaq focuses primarily on technology deals and corporate exchanges.
S&P 500 - Standard and Poor 500
The S&P 500 is short for the Standard and Poor 500. It is a stock market index that seeks to represent the whole stock market. It tracks the 500 most widely held stocks on the NYSE. By tracking 500 stocks, it seeks to reflect the risk and return of all large cap companies. However, it also is used as a proxy for all of the total stock market.
It does this by tracking the market capitalization of these companies. Market capitalization is the total value of all the shares of stock the company has issued. The total market cap of the S&P 500 was $10.7 trillion.
The S&P 500 also seeks to make sure the industry sectors in the S&P 500 represent the industries in the economy. The sector percentages in the S&P 500 in 2010 were: Information Technology (17.8%), Financial (15.1%), Energy (12.7%), Industrials (11.3%), Consumer Staples (10.6%), Consumer Discretionary (10.6%), Materials (3.7%), Utilities (3.4%), Telecom Services (3.1%). (Source: S&P 500 Factsheet)
The S&P 500, like any measurement of the stock market, is often used as an economic indicator of how well the US economy is doing. If investors are confident in the economy, they will buy stocks. Some experts believe the stock market can often predict by about six months what the savviest investors think the economy will be doing.
NYSE - New York Stock Exchange
A stock exchange based in New York City, which is considered the largest equities-based exchange in the world based on total market capitalization of its listed securities. Formerly run as a private organization, the NYSE became a public entity in 2005 following the acquisition of electronic trading exchange Archipelago. The parent company of the New York Stock Exchange is now called NYSE Euronext, following a merger with the European exchange in 2007.
Also known as the "Big Board", the NYSE relied for many years on floor trading only, using the open outcry system. Today, more than half of all NYSE trades are conducted electronically, although floor traders are still used to set pricing and deal in high volume institutional trading.
The origins of the exchange date all the way back to 1792. Because of its long operating history the NYSE is home to the majority of the world's largest and best-known companies. Foreign-based corporations can list their shares on the NYSE if they adhere to certain Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules, known as listing standards.
The NYSE opens for trading Monday through Friday 9:30a.m. to 4:00p.m. (ET), closing early on rare occasions. The market also shuts down during nine holidays throughout the year.
AMEX - American Stock Exchange
The third-largest stock exchange by trading volume in the United States. In 2008 it was acquired by the NYSE Euronext and became the NYSE Amex Equities in 2009. The AMEX is located in New York City and handles about 10% of all securities traded in the U.S.
The AMEX name was first changed to NYSE Alternext US, then became known as NYSE Amex Equities. It used to be a strong competitor to the New York Stock Exchange, but that role has since been filled by the Nasdaq. Today, almost all trading on the AMEX is in small-cap stocks, exchange-traded funds and derivatives.
NYSE MKT LLC, formerly known as the American Stock Exchange (AMEX), is an American stock exchange situated in New York City, New York. AMEX was previously a mutual organization, owned by its members. Until 1953, it was known as the New York Curb Exchange.
On January 17, 2008, NYSE Euronext announced it would acquire the AMEX for $260 million in stock; on October 1, 2008, NYSE Euronext completed the acquisition. Before the closing of the acquisition, NYSE Euronext announced that the AMEX would be integrated with the Alternext European small-cap exchange and renamed the NYSE Alternext U.S.
In March 2009, NYSE Alternext U.S. was changed to NYSE Amex Equities. On May 10, 2012, NYSE Amex Equities changed its name to NYSE MKT LLC.Read More
REUTERS: BUSINESS NEWS