Converse Invest

Financial Markets

A financial market is a market in which people and entities can trade financial securities, commodities, and other fungible items of value at low transaction costs and at prices that reflect supply and demand. Securities include stocks and bonds, and commodities include precious metals or agricultural goods.

There are both general markets (where many commodities are traded) and specialized markets (where only one commodity is traded). Markets work by placing many interested buyers and sellers, including households, firms, and government agencies, in one "place", thus making it easier for them to find each other. An economy which relies primarily on interactions between buyers and sellers to allocate resources is known as a market economy in contrast either to a command economy or to a non-market economy such as a gift economy.

In finance, financial markets facilitate:

·         The raising of capital (in the capital markets)

·         The transfer of risk (in the derivatives markets)

·         Price discovery

·         Global transactions with integration of financial markets

·         The transfer of liquidity (in the money markets)

·         International trade (in the currency markets)

– and are used to match those who want capital to those who have it.

Typically a borrower issues a receipt to the lender promising to pay back the capital. These receipts are securities which may be freely bought or sold. In return for lending money to the borrower, the lender will expect some compensation in the form of interest or dividends. This return on investment is a necessary part of markets to ensure that funds are supplied to them.

The financial markets can be divided into different subtypes:

Within the financial sector, the term "financial markets" is often used to refer just to the markets that are used to raise finance: for long term finance, the Capital markets; for short term finance, the Money markets. Another common use of the term is as a catchall for all the markets in the financial sector, as per examples in the breakdown below.

·         Capital markets which consist of:

·         Stock markets, which provide financing through the issuance of shares or common stock, and enable the subsequent trading thereof.

·         Bond markets, which provide financing through the issuance of bonds, and enable the subsequent trading thereof.

·         Commodity markets, which facilitate the trading of commodities.

·         Money markets, which provide short term debt financing and investment.

·         Derivatives markets, which provide instruments for the management of financial risk.

·         Futures markets, which provide standardized forward contracts for trading products at some future date; see also forward market.

·         Insurance markets, which facilitate the redistribution of various risks.

·         Foreign exchange markets, which facilitate the trading of foreign exchange.

The capital markets may also be divided into primary markets and secondary markets. Newly formed (issued) securities are bought or sold in primary markets, such as during initial public offerings. Secondary markets allow investors to buy and sell existing securities. The transactions in primary markets exist between issuers and investors, while in secondary market transactions exist among investors.

Liquidity is a crucial aspect of securities that are traded in secondary markets. Liquidity refers to the ease with which a security can be sold without a loss of value. Securities with an active secondary market mean that there are many buyers and sellers at a given point in time. Investors benefit from liquid securities because they can sell their assets whenever they want; an illiquid security may force the seller to get rid of their asset at a large discount.