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Global Equity Exchanges

Market Analyst
25 Jan 2024
Welcome to the dynamic world of equity exchanges, where companies and investors meet to shape the economic future. These bustling hubs of financial activity are the heartbeat of global commerce, where shares of companies are issued and traded, shaping the fortunes of individuals, institutions, and nations.

These powerhouses of trade represent the pinnacles of market capitalism. They facilitate the exchange of capital between those who have it to invest and those who seek it for growth. Let’s look some of the world’s top stock exchanges.

NYSE (New York Stock Exchange)

The NYSE, established in 1792 as one of the earliest organised security exchanges, came about after the Buttonwood Agreement where 24 brokers agreed to set a floor commission rate charged to clients for securities sales/purchases on the exchange. Clearly, significant modernisation has taken place since then, though in-person floor trading does still take place, albeit for a rapidly diminishing proportion of overall activity. Both in-person and electronic trade takes place from 9:30am – 4pm ET, Monday – Friday, besides market holidays. Per the most recent data, average daily volume is around 1billion shares per day, though this of course varies depending on prevailing market conditions. Both the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial average are comprised of stocks trading on the NYSE.


The Nasdaq – originally an acronym for the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations Stock market – is the most active trading venue in the US by volume, and ranks second to the NYSE in terms of the market cap of shares traded upon the exchange. It is owned, and operated, by the namesake Nasdaq, Inc., operators of numerous other global stock and options exchanges. Upon beginning operations in 1971, the Nasdaq was the world’s first electronic equity market, beginning primarily with the execution of OTC trades, before broadening into more ‘conventional’ equities. Both the Nasdaq Composite and Nasdaq 100 indices track equities listed on the Nasdaq, which typically mirrors the trading hours of the NYSE.

ASX (Australian Securities Exchange)

The ASX was formed in 1987, via a state-sanctioned merger of six existing Australian state securities exchanges, which was then followed by a merger with the Sydney Futures Exchange in the mid-2000s. On a daily basis, the ASX has an average turnover just shy of 5bln AUD, with the exchange having a market cap of over 2tln AUD, including over 2,300 individual equity listings. This makes the ASX one of the world’s top 20 equity exchanges, while also being the largest in the southern hemisphere. The market is open for ‘normal trading’ between 10am and 4pm Sydney time, besides market holidays.

LSE (London Stock Exchange)

The LSE stands as the most-valued stock exchange in Europe, with a total market value of all listed companies in excess of $3tln, comprising almost 2,000 individual issuers. Indices tracking shares listed on the LSE include the UK benchmark FTSE 100, and the mid-cap focused FTSE 250. The exchange’s rule book was first drawn up in the early-1800s, though by far the biggest event in the LSE’s history was the ‘Big Bang’ in 1986, when the Thatcher Administration conducted a sudden de-regulation of the UK’s financial markets, among other things removing the distinction between brokers and jobbers, while also leading to the takeover of many local firms being taken over by larger foreign banks.

FWB (Frankfurt Stock Exchange)

Standing as the 12th largest global stock exchange by market cap, and the world’s 3rd oldest, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, now owned by Deutsche Borse, sees indices such as the DAX, TecDAX and (in part) EuroStoxx 50 track securities that it lists. Trading on the exchange takes place through two venues; Xetra, where prices form the basis for calculating the DAX, and Börse Frankfurt, a venue primarily for private investors where trade takes place on the floor, rather than electronically.


HKEX (Hong Kong Stock Exchange)

The HKEX is, by most estimates, the fastest growing equity exchange in Asia, with over 2,500 listed companies, and a total market cap in excess of 47tln HKD. Since closing the physical trading floor in 2017, which at the time accounted for less than 1% of daily volume, HKEX has become an electronic exchange. Trading hours are typically from 9:30am to 12pm, and 1pm to 4pm, with the intervening period taken as a lunch break. The most notable index tracking stocks listed on HKEX is the Hang Seng, which currently holds 82 constituent companies, which represent just shy of 60% of the exchange’s entire market cap.

Euronext (Brussels, Paris, Lisbon, Amsterdam, Dublin, Oslo)

Euronext, headquartered in Amsterdam, provide infrastructure for trading and post-trade services across Europe, while also operating a number of equity exchanges, having been spun off from Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) back in 2014. Exchanges operated by Euronext include those in Amsterdam, Brussels, Dublin, Lisbon, Milan, Oslo, and Paris. The Euronext 100 is the exchange’s blue-chip index, with individual indices being calculated for stocks traded upon each exchange.

Nasdaq in Europe (Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki)

In addition to operating the well-known and familiar Nasdaq exchange in the US, Nasdaq Inc. also operate numerous exchanges in Europe, principally in the Nordic region, which came about after a merger of Nasdaq and OMX AB. Among others, Nasdaq operate exchanges in Copenhagen, Helsinki, and Stockholm, with indices trading calculated based on each of those exchanges.

SIX (Swiss Exchange)

The SIX, based in Zurich, is Switzerland’s principal stock exchange, with a market cap of around 1.6tln CHF, having been founded in its current state via a merger of exchanges in Geneva, Basel, and Zurich. The exchange maintains several indices, with the SMI – Swiss Market Index – being the best known, and serving as a benchmark for Swiss equity performance.

BME (Bolsas y Mercados Españoles)

The BME operate most major Spanish stock exchanges, including those in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, in addition to owning Latibex, the only mature international market for dealin in Latin American securities. In late-2020, the SIX group, owners of the aforementioned Swiss Exchange, finalised a purchase of BME.

WBAG (Wiener Börse AG - Vienna Stock Exchange)

The Vienna Stock Exchange is one of the world’s oldest, having been founded in 1771, originally to provide a market for state-issued debt, before evolving into the equity trading venue that it is known as today. The exchange’s benchmark index is the ATX – Austrian Traded Index – which tracks the performance of the top 20 ‘blue chip’ stocks listed on the exchange.

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