What Happens When You Buy or Sell Stocks?

Most stocks are traded on physical or virtual exchanges. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), for example, is a physical exchange where some trades are placed manually on a trading floor—yet, other trading activity is conducted electronically.1

NASDAQ, on the other hand, is a fully electronic exchange where all trading activity occurs over an extensive computer network, matching investors from around the world with each other in the blink of an eye.2

Investors and traders submit orders to buy and sell shares, either through a broker or by using an online platform such as a E*Trade.3

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