The American stock market is the largest in the world. More than 10,000 companies are traded in a number of different exchanges. Included in these, are some of the largest corporations in the world, for example

  • Microsoft Corporation – The largest software company.
  • The Coca-Cola Company – The largest beverage company.
  • Citigroup – The world’s largest bank.
  • United Parcel Service – The largest delivery company.



Stocks have been traded in America for more than two hundred years. The past few decades have witnessed a sharp rise in both the number of companies that have issued stocks to the public, and in the volume of shares traded. Today, billions of shares, representing thousands of firms, trade hands every day. The stock market is aided by a complex computer network which manages the commerce from behind the scenes. 

Diagram 1 highlights the dramatic activity in market activity over the past century.

The diagram represents the development of trade volume at the NYSE.

  • In 1,970, approximately 12 million shares were traded on an average day.
  • By 2,000, more than a billion shares were exchanged each day.


Diagram 1

Yearly Volume at the NYSE (in Billions of Shares)


Stock of different exchanges.  The three biggest exchanges are:

  • The New York Stock Exchange – NYSE.
  • The NASDAQ.
  • The American Stock Exchange – AMEX.