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Financial Markets and Capital Markets: How Do They Work?


First markets definition : Markets are places, physical or virtual, where buyers and sellers meet to exchange goods and services. A financial markets definition : Any marketplace where securities are traded, such as the stock market, bond market, currency market, and derivatives market, to mention a few, is considered a financial market. Financial markets are required for the proper operation of capitalist economies.

The term "financial market" refers to any marketplace where securities are traded.

Different types of financial markets include foreign exchange, money, capital markets, stock, and bond markets, to name a few.

Assets or securities that are either listed on regulated exchanges or traded over-the-counter may be found in these marketplaces (OTC).

Because they trade in all types of assets, financial markets are critical to the smooth operation of a capitalist society.

When financial markets crash, the economy can be thrown off, leading to recession and job losses.

Financial Markets : An Overview

Financial markets play a key role in ensuring the smooth running of capitalist economies by allocating resources and providing liquidity for businesses and entrepreneurs. The financial markets make it simple for buyers and sellers to swap their assets. Financial markets produce security products that reward those with surplus cash (investors/lenders) while also making these monies available to those in need (borrowers).

One form of financial market is the stock market. Financial markets are created by the buying and selling of a variety of financial assets such as stocks, bonds, currencies, and derivatives. To ensure that markets set prices that are efficient and appropriate, financial markets rely largely on informational openness. Because of macroeconomic variables such as taxation, market prices of securities may not be indicative of their actual value.

Some financial markets are small and inactive, while others, such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), move trillions of dollars worth of securities every day. The stock market (equities market) is a financial market where investors can purchase and sell shares of publicly traded corporations. Initial public offerings (IPOs) are new stock issues that are offered on the main stock exchange.  Any additional stock trading takes place in the secondary market, which is where investors buy and sell assets they already hold.

Important: The price of a security traded on the financial markets may or may not reflect its true intrinsic value.

Financial Markets Types:

Stock Exchanges :

Stock markets are perhaps the most common type of financial market. These are places where corporations list their stock and where traders and investors can buy and sell it.  Stock markets, also known as equities markets, are used by companies to raise money through an initial public offering (IPO), after which shares are traded among many buyers and sellers in a secondary market. When people refer to the financial market, they often think of markets where investors are buying stocks.

Stocks can be traded over-the-counter or on public platforms like the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or Nasdaq (OTC). The majority of stock trading takes place on regulated exchanges, which serve as an important economic indicator as well as a source of capital gains and dividend income for investors, particularly those with IRAs and 401(k) plans.

Investors and traders (both retail and institutional) are common players in stock markets, as are market makers (MMs) and experts who maintain liquidity and create two-sided markets. Brokers are independent third parties who facilitate trades between buyers and sellers but do not have a stock position.

Markets that are available over-the-counter

A decentralized market in which market participants sell securities directly between two parties without the need of a broker is known as an over-the-counter (OTC) market. It has no physical locations and conducts all of its business online. While some equities (for example, smaller or riskier enterprises that do not meet the exchange's listing criteria) may be traded on OTC marketplaces, most stock trading takes place on exchanges. Certain derivatives markets, on the other hand, are totally over-the-counter (OTC) and hence account for a large share of the financial markets. OTC markets and the transactions that take place on them are less regulated, liquid, and transparent than traditional markets.

Bond Markets: What Are They and How Do They Work?

A bond is a financial product in which an investor lends money at a fixed interest rate for a certain period of time. A bond is a written agreement between the lender and the borrower that details the loan and its payments. Bonds are issued by businesses, municipalities, states, and sovereign governments to fund projects and activities. The bond market, for example, is where the US Treasury sells assets such as notes and bills. Bonds are sometimes known as debt securities, credit securities, or fixed-income instruments.

Money Markets:

Money markets are characterized by a high level of safety and a low rate of interest return, and they often trade in highly liquid short-term maturities (less than one year). Money markets feature large-volume trading between institutions and traders at the wholesale level. Private investors can buy money market mutual funds, and bank clients can open money market accounts at the retail level. Individuals can participate in the money markets by buying short-term CDs, municipal bonds, or US Treasury bills, among other things.

Derivatives Markets: What Are They and How Do They Work?

A derivative is a contract between two or more parties in which the contract's value is decided by an agreed-upon underlying financial asset (such as a security) or combination of assets (like an index). Derivatives are secondary securities whose value is completely based on the value of the primary security to which they are linked.

A derivative is worthless in and of itself. A derivatives market trades futures and options contracts, as well as other advanced financial products, that are based on fundamental instruments such as bonds, commodities, currencies, interest rates, market indexes, and stocks, rather than trading equities directly.

Futures exchanges are where futures contracts are listed and sold. Unlike OTC forwards, futures markets are well-regulated, have established contract parameters, and trades are settled and confirmed by clearinghouses. Options markets, such as the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), list and regulate contracts in a similar manner. Futures and options markets can sell contracts on a variety of asset categories, including equities, fixed-income instruments, commodities, and so on.

The Foreign Exchange Market (Forex):

People can buy, sell, hedge, and speculate on currency pairs' exchange rates on the forex (foreign exchange) market. The FX market is the most liquid in the world because cash is the most liquid of assets. The currency market transacts more than $5 trillion each day, more than the combined turnover of the futures and stock markets combined. The forex market, like the OTC markets, is decentralized, consisting of a global network of computers and brokers located all over the world. The forex market is made up of banks, commercial companies, central banks, investment management organizations, hedge funds, and retail forex brokers and investors.

Commodity Markets: What Are They and How Do They Work?

Producers and consumers sell physical commodities like maize, livestock, and soybeans, as well as energy goods (oil, gas, and carbon credits), precious metals (gold, silver, and platinum), and "soft" commodities at commodity markets (such as cotton, coffee, and sugar). Spot commodities markets are those where physical goods are traded for cash.

The majority of these commodities, on the other hand, are traded in derivatives markets, particularly with futures contracts , that are one the most traded derivatives on financial markets, especially for commodities. Futures markets and commodity markets are very closely related because of that. Commodity futures, options, and forwards are traded both over-the-counter (OTC) and on regulated exchanges like the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) (ICE).

Cryptocurrency Exchanges :

Over the last several years, decentralized digital assets based on blockchain technology, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, have been created and have gained in popularity. Hundreds of cryptocurrency tokens are now available and exchanged across the globe on a patchwork of independent online crypto exchanges. These exchanges offer traders digital wallets via which they can exchange cryptocurrencies for fiat currencies like dollars or euros.

Because the majority of crypto exchanges are centralized, users are vulnerable to hackers or fraud. This is another risk to take into account for investors about their risk management when they want to invest in cryptocurrencies. Decentralized exchanges operate without the need for a central authority. These exchanges allow for direct peer-to-peer (P2P) digital currency trading without the need for a central exchange to process the trades. Futures and options trading are also accessible on major cryptocurrencies.

Examples of Financial Markets:

The accompanying sections indicate the enormous scope and scale of the term "financial markets." We'll look at how important stock markets are in getting a company ready for an initial public offering (IPO) and how the OTC derivatives market played a role in the financial crisis of 2008-09.

Stock Markets and Initial Public Offerings (IPOs)

When a company is just getting started, it will need funding from investors. As a company grows, it often needs access to far larger quantities of capital than it can get from ongoing operations or a traditional bank loan. In an initial public offering (IPO), companies can raise this amount of money by selling shares to the general public (IPO). This changes the status of the company from a "private" corporation with a few shareholders to a publicly-traded corporation with a large number of stockholders.

The IPO also allows early investors in the company to cash out a portion of their investment, usually at a significant profit. Initially, the IPO price was set by the underwriters during the pre-marketing phase.

When a company's shares are listed on a stock exchange and trading begins, their price will fluctuate as investors and traders assess and reevaluate their inherent value, as well as the supply and demand for those shares at any particular time.

MBS and CDOs: OTC Derivatives and the 2008 Financial Crisis

While many factors contributed to and aggravated the 2008-09 financial crisis, one that has received widespread attention is the mortgage-backed securities market (MBS). In this type of OTC derivative, cash flows from individual mortgages are aggregated, divided, and sold to investors. The crisis was caused by a series of events, each with its own cause, that culminated in the banking system's near-collapse. The Community Development Act of 1970, which required banks to loosen lending limitations for lower-income customers, so establishing a market for subprime mortgages, is said to have sown the seeds of the catastrophe.

The amount of subprime mortgage debt insured by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae continued to climb until the Federal Reserve Board decided to significantly decrease interest rates in order to avoid a recession in the early 2000s. A combination of weak lending restrictions and cheap money generated a housing boom, which spurred speculation, driving up home values and producing a real estate bubble. Meanwhile, following the dotcom bust and the 2001 recession, investment banks created collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) from mortgages purchased on the secondary market.

Because subprime mortgages were bundled with prime mortgages, investors had no way of knowing about the risks. When the CDO market began to heat up, the housing bubble, which had been developing for some years, had finally burst. As property values fell, subprime borrowers began to default on loans worth more than their homes, hastening the downturn. Investors attempted to sell MBS and CDOs when they understood they were worthless due to the toxic debt they represented. CDOs, on the other hand, were without a market. As a result of the subsequent avalanche of subprime lender failures, liquidity contagion spread throughout the banking industry. Over the next five years, two prominent investment banks, Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns, and more than 450 institutions failed as a result of their subprime debt exposure. Before taxpayers bailed out several huge banks, they were on the point of failure.

Financial Markets Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Various Financial Market Types?

Financial markets and their purposes include the stock market, bond market, currencies, commodities, and real estate market, to name a few. Capital markets, money markets, primary vs. secondary markets, and listed vs. OTC markets are all examples of financial markets.

What Is the Function of Financial Markets?

Despite the fact that they span a wide range of asset classes and have a variety of structures and rules, all financial markets function by bringing buyers and sellers of a particular asset or contract together and allowing them to trade with one another. This is frequently accomplished through the use of an auction or a price-discovery process.

What Are Financial Markets' Primary Purposes?

Financial markets exist for a variety of reasons, the most basic of which is to make the efficient allocation of money and assets in a financial economy easier. By permitting a free market for the flow of capital, financial obligations, and money, financial markets help the global economy run more smoothly. They also allow investors to share in long-term capital gains.

What Is the Importance of Financial Markets?

Capital could not be allocated efficiently without financial markets, and economic activities such as commerce and trade, investment, and growth potential would be severely limited. These sectors are essential to any actors that need capital, from individual to state. This is why every state has its own central bank or is a part of a big one like the European central bank. Bond purchases for exemple is a big part

Who Are the Major Players in the Financial Markets?

Speculators like hedge funds employ multiple asset classes to make directional bets on future prices, hedgers or mutual funds use derivatives markets to minimize various risks, and arbitrageurs try to profit from market mispricings or anomalies. Brokers frequently function as intermediaries between buyers and sellers, collecting a commission or fee in exchange for their services.


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