News on the stock market appears in different media every day. You hear about it any time it reaches a new high or a new low, and you also hear about it daily in statements like 'The BSE Sensitive Index rose 5% today'. Obviously, stocks and stock markets are important. Stocks of public limited companies are bought and sold at a stock exchange. But what really are stock exchanges? Known also as the stock market or bourse, a stock exchange is an organized marketplace for securities (like stocks, bonds, options) featured by the centralization of supply and demand for the transaction of orders by member brokers, for institutional and individual investors.
The exchange makes buying and selling easy. For example, you don't have to actually go to a stock exchange, say, BSE - you can contact a broker, who does business with the BSE, and he or she will buy or sell your stock on your behalf.
Stock exchanges are intricacy inter-woven in the fabric of a nation's economic life. Without a stock exchange, the saving of the community- the sinews of economic progress and productive efficiency- would remain underutilized. The task of mobilization and allocation of savings could be attempted in the old days by a much less specialized institution than the stock exchanges. But as business and industry expanded and the economy assumed more complex nature, the need for 'permanent finance' arose. Entrepreneurs needed money for long term whereas investors demanded liquidity – the facility to convert their investment into cash at any given time. The answer was a ready market for investments and this was how the stock exchange came into being. Stock exchange means any body of individuals, whether incorporated or not, constituted for the purpose of regulating or controlling the business of buying, selling or dealing in securities. These securities include:
(i) Shares, scrip, stocks, bonds, debentures stock or other...