Stock exchanges play a significant role in the global economy. As early as the 1100s, France already had a system for men to trade debts effectively, which can be regarded as the first example of brokerage. In the 13th century, Venice merchants started trading government securities. Later, nearby Italian cities followed suit. The real stock market, however, was set in Belgium during the 1500s and 1600s. The early stock exchanges mainly dealt with government affairs and the individual business, but stocks did not exist at that time.

Today, stock exchanges mainly help companies raise money to expand the business. Another important function of stock market is to maintain the order and regulations for stocks trading. Besides, stock exchanges offer individuals the ability to make investments.

Here are three important stock exchanges.

London Stock Exchange (LSE)

The London Stock Exchange is the major stock exchange in Britain and the largest one in Europe. The history of the LSE can be traced back to a coffee house in 1698. The LSE provides listed companies with electronic equities trading as well as some of the world’s deepest and most liquid pools of capital. Being an international stock exchange associated with thousands of companies from over 60 countries, the LSE has abundant information on market data, benchmark prices and equity liquidity in Europe. The major index of the LSE is the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 100 Share Index, also called Footsie. It contains 100 top blue-chip stocks on the LSE.

New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

The New York Stock Exchange traces its roots back to 1792. It is located on Wall Street in the downtown Manhattan. Based on the listed securities’ total market capitalization, the NYSE is the largest stock exchange in the world with a value worth about $28.5 trillion. It offers a market place for purchasing and selling 9.3 million corporate stocks plus other securities daily. Most promising businesses all over the world try to list their shares on the New York Stock Exchange, and now the NYSE contains lists of the 70 largest enterprises in the world.

Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE)

The Shanghai Stock Exchange, founded in 1990, is the biggest stock exchange in mainland China. The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) runs this nonprofit organization. It trades stocks, funds and bonds. Most of the exchange total market capitalization is comprised of formerly state-run enterprises, including major banks as well as insurance companies. The exchange issues A -shares and B- shares. A -shares are the shares of companies based on mainland China and they are quoted in yuan. Previously, A-shares were only available to mainland citizens, but recent regulations allow foreign investors to buy them through the tightly regulated qualified foreign investment system. B-shares, on the other hand, are quoted in foreign currencies like the US dollar, and they are open to both domestic and foreign investors.

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