How a system that can accommodate one billion shares trading in a single day works is a mystery to most people. No doubt, our financial markets are marvels of technological efficiency. Yet, they still must handle your order for shares of Acme Kumquats with the same care and documentation as my order of , shares of MegaCorp. If you want to dig deeper, there are links to articles explaining the technical side of the markets.
There is a strong push to move more trading to the networks and off the trading floors, but this push is meeting with some resistance. Trading on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange the NYSE is the image most people have thanks to television and the movies of how the market works. When the market is open, you see hundreds of people rushing about shouting and gesturing to one another, talking on phones, watching monitors, and entering data into terminals.
It could not look any more chaotic. Here is a step-by-step walk through the execution of a simple trade on the NYSE. Of course, this example was a simple trade, complex trades and large blocks of stocks involve considerable more detail. In this fast moving world, some are wondering how long a human-based system like the NYSE can continue to provide the level of service necessary. The electronic markets use vast computer networks to match buyers and sellers, rather than human brokers.
While this system lacks the romantic and exciting images of the NYSE floor, it is efficient and fast. Many large institutional traders, such as pension funds , mutual funds , and so forth, prefer this method of trading. For the individual investor , you frequently can get almost instant confirmations on your trades, if that is important to you.
It also facilitates further control of online investing by putting you one step closer to the market. Your broker accesses the exchange network and the system finds a buyer or seller depending on your order. What does this all mean to you? Don't be a Victim of Trading Scams. Updated September 09,More...