DEFINITION of 'Primary Exchange'

The most important stock exchange in a given country. Common characteristics of a primary exchange include a long history, primary listings of the country's top companies, listings of many important foreign corporations, large total market capitalization and a large trade value. A country may have other important stock exchanges in addition to its primary exchange.

BREAKING DOWN 'Primary Exchange'

For example, the United Kingdom's primary exchange is the London Stock Exchange. It was founded in 1801 and has a daily volume of approximately $2 trillion. The NYSE is, of course, the primary exchange of the United States. Other primary exchanges include the following:
Canada – Toronto Stock Exchange
Japan – Tokyo Stock Exchange
China – Shanghai Stock Exchange
India – Bombay Stock Exchange

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RELATED FAQS
  1. Can stocks be traded on more than one exchange, such as, for example, on both the ...

    A stock can trade on any exchange on which it is listed. And to be listed it must meet all of the exchange's listing requirements ... Read Answer >>
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    Learn more about the primary marketplace -- home of initial public offerings -- and the major players that make buying and ... Read Answer >>
  3. How does a company switch from one stock exchange to another?

    A publicly traded company can, in fact, switch to a stock exchange that it believes will be favorable to its financing efforts. ... Read Answer >>
  4. What is the average range for the price-to-earnings ratio in the electronics sector?

    Understand the difference between the primary market and the secondary market, and learn which investors are able to participate ... Read Answer >>
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