The size of the world stock market was estimated at about $36.6 trillion at the start of October 2008.The total world derivatives market has been estimated at about $791 trillion face or nominal value, 11 times the size of the entire world economy.
The stocks are listed and traded on stock exchanges which are entities of a corporation or mutual organization specialized in the business of bringing buyers and sellers of the organizations to a listing of stocks and securities together. The largest stock market in the United States, by market capitalization, is the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). In Canada, the largest stock market is the Toronto Stock Exchange. Major European examples of stock exchanges include the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, London Stock Exchange, Paris Bourse, and the Deutsche Börse (Frankfurt Stock Exchange). In Africa, examples include Nigerian Stock Exchange, JSE Limited, etc. Asian examples include the Singapore Exchange, the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the Shanghai Stock Exchange, and the Bombay Stock Exchange. In Latin America, there are such exchanges as the BM&F Bovespa and the BMV.
A few decades ago, worldwide, buyers and sellers were individual investors, such as wealthy businessmen, usually with long family histories to particular corporations. Over time, markets have become more "institutionalized"; buyers and sellers are largely institutions (e.g., pension funds, insurance companies, mutual funds, index funds, exchange-traded funds, hedge funds, investor groups, banks and various other financial institutions).
The rise of the institutional investor has brought with it some improvements in market operations. Thus, the