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Market value is the price of an asset that is traded or offered for sale in a public forum where multiple buyers are allowed to make offers to buy that asset. 

For marketable securities of publicly traded companies, the companies are required to issue periodic financial information to the public to meet a full-knowledge requirement. Anyone seeking to buy or sell a marketable security has access to this information, and thus the opportunity to be an informed purchaser or seller. 

The requirement for publicly available information is key to the integrity of a fair market system, and is why it is the best method of setting a market value on securities.  In fact, in the United States securities market, trading securities based on insider knowledge is a civil and sometimes criminal offense.  One reason is that the party with the inside information has an unfair advantage over the other party to the transaction, and thus the price set by this sale does not reflect a true market value. 

Market value is much more difficult to determine for assets that are not traded on a public exchange.  For instance, real estate sales are usually public, but not on a public exchange like the ones for marketable securities. In addition, each piece of real estate is unique from all others.  So the best approximation of market value is to compare recent sales of similar properties. 

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