NASDAQ is an acronym that stands for the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation system.  NASDAQ was originally founded in 1971 to trade securities for companies that were not offered on a formal exchange. At its inception, these stocks were mainly technology companies. Thus, to this day NASDAQ is associated with technology stocks.NASDAQ does not have a trading floor like the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).  Rather, all buying and selling takes place electronically in the NASDAQ system. A purchaser electronically sends his order to market makers, who post the bid and ask prices for securities.  Once the price is accepted, the trade is made electronically. Recently, NASDAQ merged with Swedish electronic trading company OMX ABO.  The combination (called NASDAQ OMX) now lists over 4,000 companies, with NASDAQ itself listing as many as 3,100 companies.  In addition, trades can be made for commodities, debt, derivatives, ETFs and structured products via the NASDAQ OMX systems. The group also provides services that help companies with their ongoing capital raising needs. A few of the companies listed on NASDAQ are Apple, Bed Bath & Beyond, eBay, Google, Intuit, Inc. Microsoft, Netflix, Tesla Motors, Viacom and Yahoo.   When stock ticker symbols are used to identify a company, NASDAQ stock ticker symbols are usually up to four letters.  In contrast, the NYSE has up to three. In addition, NASDAQ is often used to refer to the NASDAQ 3000, which is a composite index of 3,000 stocks listed on the NASDAQ exchange.