Share Market 2024: Meaning, Types, Participants and Regulator

Learn the basics of the share market and how you can start investing to grow your wealth. Get tips and debunk common misconceptions about the share market.


Are you interested in investing but not sure where to start? The stock market can be a great place to grow your wealth over time. The stock market also provides investors with the opportunity to earn a return on their investment. When investors buy shares of a company, they are hoping that the price of the shares will go up over time. If the company does well, the price of its shares is likely to rise, and investors can sell their shares for a profit.

Investors can also earn a return on their investment through dividends. Dividends are payments that companies make to their shareholders out of their profits. By understanding the basics and taking a measured approach, you can embark on your investment journey with a clearer vision. In this article, we will explore the basics of the stock market and provide tips for beginners to get started.

What is the Stock Market?

Meaning of Stock Market: The stock market, also known as the equity or share market, can seem like a complex and intimidating place. The stock market is a marketplace where investors can buy and sell shares of companies. The price of a share is determined by supply and demand, and it can fluctuate over time. Stock markets are essential to a free-market economy because they allow companies to raise capital by selling shares to the public. Stock markets also provide investors with the opportunity to earn a return on their investment.

The stock market is a place where buyers and sellers come together to trade shares of publicly listed companies. When you buy a stock, you are buying a small piece of ownership in that company. The stock market is often seen as a barometer of the overall economy, as it reflects investors’ confidence in the future growth of companies.

Imagine a giant marketplace where companies can sell ownership slices of themselves (called stocks) to raise capital. Investors, on the other hand, can buy these shares with the hope that their value will increase over time, allowing them to sell for a profit. This buying and selling of shares dictates the price of the stock, constantly fluctuating based on various factors.

How Does the Share Market Work?

Understanding the Mechanism: Imagine a company decides it needs capital to grow. It can issue shares of ownership, and these shares are then sold on the stock market. When you buy a company’s stock, you’re essentially buying a tiny piece of that company. The price of a stock fluctuates based on supply and demand, along with the company’s performance and future prospects.

Shares are traded on stock exchanges, which are platforms where buyers and sellers come together to trade shares. Some well-known stock exchanges include the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Nasdaq. Investors can buy shares through a stockbroker who acts as an intermediary between the investor and the stock exchange.

Share Market History

The share market, also called the stock market, has a long and winding history that stretches back centuries. Here’s a quick look at some key milestones:

  • Early Beginnings (17th & 18th Centuries): The concept of share ownership for financing businesses emerged in Europe. The Dutch East India Company is considered the first publicly traded company, established in 1602. Amsterdam became a hub for trading these shares.
  • Formal Exchanges (18th & 19th Centuries): Stock exchanges started forming around the world, providing a structured platform for buying and selling shares. The Philadelphia Stock Exchange (1790) and the New York Stock Exchange (late 18th century, formalized in 1817) are some early examples.
  • Technological Advancements (19th & 20th Centuries): The invention of the telegraph and other communication tools sped up communication and trading activity. The 20th century saw the rise of electronic trading systems, making the markets more efficient.
  • Boom and Bust Cycles (Throughout History): The history of the share market is marked by periods of booms and busts. The most famous crash is likely the Wall Street Crash of 1929, which triggered the Great Depression. More recent examples include the dot-com bubble burst in the early 2000s and the 2008 financial crisis.
  • Globalization (20th & 21st Centuries): Stock markets across the world became more interconnected with the rise of globalization. Today, major events in one region can quickly impact markets worldwide.

Indian Stock Market History

The Indian stock market is a prominent player in the global financial landscape. It offers a wide range of investment opportunities for domestic and foreign investors.

The Indian stock market boasts a rich history dating back to the late 18th century. Here’s a glimpse into its evolution:-

Early Beginnings (18th-19th Century):

  • The East India Company issued bonds and shares to fund operations, laying the groundwork for a securities market.
  • The 1850s saw the Companies Act, sparking investor interest in corporate securities.
  • By 1875, the “Native Share and Stock Brokers Association,” now known as the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), was established.

Formalization and Growth (19th-20th Century):

  • The late 19th and early 20th centuries witnessed the rise of stock exchanges in other cities like Calcutta and Madras.
  • Regulatory bodies like the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) emerged to ensure transparency and investor protection.

Transformation and Modernization (Late 20th Century):

  • The 1990s proved pivotal. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) was established in 1992, introducing electronic trading and greater transparency.
  • Key indices like the BSE Sensex and Nifty 50 were launched, becoming crucial market performance indicators.

Globalization of Indian Share Market

The Indian stock market has become increasingly globalized in recent decades, bringing both benefits and challenges.

Increased Foreign Investment: Globalization led to more foreign institutional investors (FIIs) participating in the Indian stock market. This inflow of capital provides much-needed liquidity and fosters growth. Foreign investors are attracted by India’s large and growing domestic market, offering opportunities for diversification and potentially higher yields.

Impact on Indian Companies: Listed Indian companies can now raise capital from international markets, not just domestic sources. This access to global funds fuels their expansion plans and helps them compete internationally.

Integration with Global Events: The Indian market is more susceptible to global economic events and policy changes. For instance, interest rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve can lead to capital flight from emerging markets like India, impacting stock prices.

Globalization has helped the Indian stock market mature and gain depth. However, it has also increased volatility, making it crucial for investors to be aware of global economic trends.

Types of Stock Market

There are two main types of stock markets: primary markets and secondary markets.

  • Primary markets are where companies first sell their shares to the public. This is done through a process called an initial public offering (IPO).
  • Secondary markets are where investors buy and sell shares among themselves. The most well-known secondary markets include the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Players Involved in Share Market

  • Companies: Businesses seeking to raise funds for expansion or operations sell stocks through a process called an Initial Public Offering (IPO).
  • Investors: Individuals or institutions who purchase stocks with the intention of profiting from future price appreciation or dividend payouts (a portion of the company’s profits distributed to shareholders).
  • Stock Exchanges: These are the regulated platforms where buying and selling of shares take place. India’s leading stock exchanges are the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

Stock Market Intermediaries

Stock market intermediaries are the essential middlemen that ensure the smooth functioning of the stock market. They act as bridges between investors and the stock exchanges, facilitating the buying and selling of securities. Here’s a breakdown of the key players:

Stock Brokers:

These licensed professionals or firms execute buy and sell orders on behalf of investors. They provide investors with access to the trading platform and offer guidance on investment decisions (although they cannot provide financial advice).

Depositories and Depository Participants (DPs):

Depositories are institutions that hold securities (like stocks and bonds) in electronic form for investors. DPs are the agents of depositories that interact directly with investors. They handle account opening, Dematerialization (conversion of physical certificates to electronic form), and Rematerialization (conversion of electronic holdings to physical certificates) of securities.

Stock Exchanges:

These are electronic marketplaces where investors can buy and sell securities. They provide a platform for matching buy and sell orders, ensuring fair and transparent pricing. The National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) and the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) are the two primary stock exchanges in India.

Clearing Corporations:

These institutions ensure the settlement of trades by guaranteeing the exchange of securities for money on the due date. They act as a risk management layer, minimizing the risk of failed trades. In India, the National Securities Clearing Corporation Limited (NSCCL) is the primary clearing corporation.

Investment Banks:

Investment banks play a multifaceted role in the stock market. They underwrite initial public offerings (IPOs) by guaranteeing to buy unsold shares, helping companies raise capital. Additionally, they advise on mergers and acquisitions, manage investment portfolios for institutional investors, and provide research and analysis to investors.

Market Makers:

Market makers are firms or individuals who continuously quote bid and ask prices for specific securities. They help maintain market liquidity by ensuring there are always buyers and sellers available, even for less frequently traded stocks. By providing quotes, they reduce the risk of price gaps and sudden fluctuations.

Custodian Banks:

These banks hold securities for institutional investors, such as mutual funds and hedge funds, and provide safekeeping and asset servicing.

By working together, these intermediaries ensure the efficient and orderly functioning of the stock market, fostering a healthy investment environment.

Stock Market Participants

Participants are the entities that buy and sell securities in the stock market. They can be broadly categorized as:


Investors are individuals or institutions that invest in stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments with the expectation of earning a profit. There are various types of investors, including retail investors (individual investors), institutional investors (pension funds, mutual funds, insurance companies), and high net-worth individuals (HNWIs).


Issuers are companies that issue securities (stocks and bonds) to raise capital for business operations, expansion, or mergers and acquisitions.


Speculators are investors who take calculated risks in the hope of profiting from short-term price movements in the stock market. They may use leverage (borrowing money) to amplify potential gains (and losses).


Hedgers use stock market instruments to protect themselves against potential losses in other investments. For example, a company with foreign currency exposure might use stock market derivatives to hedge against currency fluctuations.

Regulator of Stock Market

In India, the regulator of the stock market is the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). They are responsible for overseeing the smooth functioning and fair practices within the Indian securities market.

Common Misconceptions about the Share Market

  1. Investing in the share market is gambling – While there is risk involved in investing in shares, it is not the same as gambling. With proper research and analysis, you can make informed investment decisions.
  2. Share market is only for the wealthy – Anyone can invest in the share market, regardless of their income level. There are options available for investors with different risk appetites and investment goals.
  3. Timing the market is crucial for success – Trying to time the market can be risky. It is essential to focus on the fundamentals of the companies you are investing in rather than trying to predict market movements.

How Can I Start Investing in the Share Market?

To start investing in the share market, you will need to open a Demat Account with a stockbroker. A demat account is where your shares will be held in electronic form. Once you have opened a demat account, you can start buying and selling shares through your stockbroker’s trading platform. It is essential to do thorough research and analysis before investing in any company to make informed investment decisions.

The stock market offers exciting opportunities, but remember, it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme. By approaching it with knowledge and caution, you can potentially make it a part of your long-term financial strategy.

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