NASDAQ is an American stock exchange and it is one that we are all very aware of. It is the fourth largest trading market in the world in regards to market capitalization. What is meant by "market capitalization" is that the size of the business enterprise is rather large. It is, however, the largest equity securities trading market that is electronic screen based in the United States.
As it stands, the NASDAQ has thousands of corporations and companies within its trading volume. It currently provides price quotations and trading on over 5,000 over the counter stocks. The NASDAQ was also the very first electronic stock market, as it was created in 1971. 
The NASDAQ is different than the NYSE in that its trading is done electronically. It has always been this way, whereas the NYSE has used the outcry system and continues to do so to some extent. Even the NYSE is moving toward an electronic system on certain investment instruments.
The trading that is done under the NASDAQ exchange occurs through a bulletin board system and even over the telephone. Now, trading is done over an automated system where full reports are generated that give info on daily trading volumes and on the trades themselves.
Also, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is the primary index of the NYSE, where the NASDAQ 100 is the primary index for NASDAQ. This index consists of its top 100 companies, which are the largest companies within the exchange and from a wide range of market sectors. The only sector that is not included in the NASDAQ 100 index is financial service companies because they have their own index.
What is interesting about the NASDAQ 100 is that companies can be added and removed yearly. This depends on their market value and their overall ranking.
You'll also notice when looking at a stock ticker that those companies traded on the NASDAQ exchange have four letters to their stock symbol, while the NYSE has three letters to their symbol. If you want to be able to identify what stock option symbols belong to what exchange, this is a good way to figure that out.
The companies that trade using the NASDAQ exchange chose to be there. A company can only trade on one exchange. When they decide to go public, they select a stock exchange that they want to trade on. It is not unusual, however, for a company to change exchanges. For instance, a company trading within the NYSE may decide later that they want to trade within NASDAQ.
You can expect to see some of the largest technology companies to appear on the NASDAQ. Such companies as Apple and Microsoft can be found. You will even find Google being traded on the NASDAQ, which means you will find them amongst the NASDAQ 100. These are companies that have long established themselves amongst the top 100 largest companies, thus creating the index itself.
So now that you know what the NASDAQ is and what is traded within it. You can also identify what exchange a company belongs to just by looking at its stock symbol. Although it may not seem important to know what exchange a stock belongs to, it actually is. Yes, the main factor of importance is that the stock is growing and creating a profit, but the exchange can influence this. For instance, the S&P 500 is where mutual fund accounts are traded. The S&P performs quite well as a whole and serves as a guide for mutual fund managers in regards to performance. The idea is to get their portfolios to outperform the index.
 http://www.investopedia.com/terms/n/nasdaq.asp 07/07/2010
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