Financial Market

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DEFINITION of 'Financial Market'

Broad term describing any marketplace where buyers and sellers participate in the trade of assets such as equities, bonds, currencies and derivatives. Financial markets are typically defined by having transparent pricing, basic regulations on trading, costs and fees and market forces determining the prices of securities that trade.

Some financial markets only allow participants that meet certain criteria, which can be based on factors like the amount of money held, the investor's geographical location, knowledge of the markets or the profession of the participant.

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BREAKING DOWN 'Financial Market'

Financial markets can be found in nearly every nation in the world. Some are very small, with only a few participants, while others – like the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the forex markets – trade trillions of dollars daily.

Most financial markets have periods of heavy trading and demand for securities; in these periods, prices may rise above historical norms. The converse is also true – downturns may cause prices to fall past levels of intrinsic value, based on low levels of demand or other macroeconomic forces like tax rates, national production or employment levels.

Information transparency is important to increase the confidence of participants and therefore foster an efficient financial marketplace.

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