A broker can be on the trading floor or can make trades by phone or electronically.An exchange is like a warehouse in which people buy and sell stocks.
Some exchanges work like auctions on an actual trading floor, and others match buyers to sellers electronically. Online trading has given anyone who has a computer, enough money to open an account and a reasonably good financial history the ability to invest in the market. You don't have to have a personal broker or a disposable fortune to do it, and most analysts agree that average people trading stock is no longer a sign of impending doom.­The market has become more accessible, but that doesn't mean you should take online trading lightly.


Over-the-counter (OTC) stocks are not listed on a major exchange, and you can look up information on them at the OTC Bulletin Board or PinkSheets.When you buy and sell stocks online, you're using an online broker that largely takes the place of a human broker. You still use real money, but instead of talking to someone about investments, you decide which stocks to buy and sell, and you request your trades yourself.
If you've already read How Stocks and the Stock Market Work, you can go on to the next section.A share of stock is basically a tiny piece of a corporation. Some online brokerages offer advice from live brokers and broker-assisted trades as part of their service.If you need a broker to help you with your trades, you'll need to choose a firm that offers that service.


Shareholders -- people who buy stock -- are investing in the future of a company for as long as they own their shares.



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