Financial Dictionary -> Investing -> NASDAQ

The National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations or NASDAQ as it's abbreviated is the largest stock exchange in the United States and has more volume of trades than any other stock exchange in the world, with roughly 3,200 listed companies whose stock is traded through the system.

Like other stock exchanges the NASDAQ, which was founded in 1971 facilitates an open market place where stocks, bonds, options, futures, commodities and other financial instruments are traded, bought and sold; often on a 24/7 basis with the rise in popularity of the internet. It was the first ever electronic exchange.

Using its unique computerized system it facilitates highly efficient trading and offers real time price quotations on more than 5,000 over the counter stocks that are traded actively and on a regular basis.

The Stocks listed on the NASDAQ are normally listed under four or five letter 'ticker' symbols, which you'll find online and in financial newspapers, however if the company is transferred from the New York Stock Exchange, the symbol may be made up of three letters.

When somebody discusses the NASDAQ they may also be referring to its composite Index, which is a measure of the market it serves. So when people say the NASDAQ is up, they mean as a whole that the NASDAQ is doing well. It is often mentioned in the same breath as the Dow Jones, a measurement that looks out how well the overall stock market is doing.

Traditionally the NASDAQ has traded in many high tech and scientific stocks, including Microsoft, Intel, Dell and Cisco.
Many online services from search engine Yahoo to smaller niche websites offer listings from the NASDAQ, with graphs and regularly updated values and information, although many still use the morning financials to keep tabs on their investments. Countless other websites facilitate in the buying of stock.