A company can list its shares on more than one exchange, which is often referred to as a dual-listing. A stock can trade on any exchange in which it is listed. However, companies must meet all of the exchange's listing requirements and pay for any associated fees in order to be listed.

Key Takeaways

  • A company can list its shares on more than one exchange, which is referred to as dual-listing. 
  • In order to be listed, a stock must meet all of the exchange's listing requirements and pay for all associated fees.
  • A company might list its shares on several exchanges to boost the stock's liquidity.
  • Multinational corporations might list on multiple exchanges, including their domestic exchange and the major ones in other countries.

Understanding Why Stocks Trade on Multiple Exchanges

Although companies can list their stocks on multiple exchanges, very few companies actually do it. Companies such as Charles Schwab (SCHW) and Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA)–formerly known as Walgreens–previously experimented with being dual-listed on the NYSE and NASDAQ, but have since returned to being listed only on a single exchange. 

Liquidity

One reason for listing on several exchanges is that it increases a stock's liquidity, which means that there are plenty of shares available for market demand. A dual listing allows investors to choose from several different markets in which to buy or sell shares of the company.

A stock's liquidity can be measured by the bid-ask spread, which is the amount by which the selling price, called the ask price, exceeds the buy price, called the bid price. The increased liquidity for stocks on multiple exchanges makes the stock's bid-ask spread decrease, making it easier for investors to buy and sell the security at any time.

Multinationals

Multinational corporations also tend to list on more than one exchange. These companies may list their shares on both their domestic exchange and the major ones in other countries. For example, the multinational corporation BP (BP)–formerly British Petroleum–trades on the London Stock Exchange, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and several other countries' exchanges. 

Listing on Exchanges Through Depositary Receipts

The popularity of depositary receipts have increased the number of companies trading on exchanges in different countries. A depositary receipt (DR) is a negotiable certificate that represents equity shares in a foreign company that's traded on an international stock exchange.

Depositary receipts are helpful to investors since they allow the purchase of equity shares of foreign companies without trading directly on a foreign market. In other words, companies can list their shares on their local exchange and also through a depository receipt in another market so that foreign investors have access. A depositary receipt can be issued by that bank on a foreign exchange with or without the endorsement of the company being traded.

Investors in the U.S. can access foreign stocks through American depositary receipts (ADRs). An ADR is denominated in U.S. dollars whereby a U.S. financial institution overseas holds the shares. ADRs are a great way to buy shares in a foreign company while earning capital gains on the investment and dividend income–or cash payments by companies to their shareholders.

Depositary receipts allow investors around the world to purchase and sell large international companies' stock. An example of a well-known company with a heavily-traded depositary receipt trading on the NASDAQ is the Chinese technology giant, Baidu (BIDU).