Nasdaq Stock Exchange




The Nasdaq stock exchange is the second-largest stock exchange in the world by market capitalization, behind only the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Headquartered in New York City, the Nasdaq facilitates the buying and selling of stocks for over 3,300 companies.

History of the Nasdaq Stock Exchange

The Nasdaq was founded in 1971 as the world’s first electronic stock market. It started as a wholly electronic system that did not have a trading floor and enabled brokers to make trades via telephones and computers. The founding companies include the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Some key events and milestones in the history of the Nasdaq stock exchange include:

  • 1971: The Nasdaq stock market was founded
  • 1982: Nasdaq launches the National Market System (NMS) which links markets electronically
  • 1985: Microsoft holds its IPO on the Nasdaq
  • 1987: The stock market crashes on October 19 but the Nasdaq rebounds quicker due to its electronic systems
  • 1996: The Nasdaq Composite index first closes above 1,000
  • 2000: Dot-com bubble bursts, losing 78% of its value over 30 months
  • 2008: Nasdaq and OMX merge, expanding globally
  • 2012: Nasdaq leads all exchanges in IPOs for emerging growth companies under the JOBS Act
  • 2021: Nasdaq welcomes 400th listing

Number of Listings

Today, the Nasdaq stock exchange facilitates trading in over 3,300 company stocks. Some of the most prominent Nasdaq-listed technology companies include:

  • Apple
  • Alphabet (Google)
  • Amazon
  • Meta (Facebook)
  • Microsoft

There are over 400 initial public offerings (IPOs) per year on the Nasdaq, which is more than any other stock exchange globally.

How the Nasdaq Stock Exchange Works

The Nasdaq operates as a dealer market, which means market makers are always ready to buy or sell stocks on a regular and continuous basis. This ensures high liquidity.

Here are some key things to know about how trading occurs:

  • Trades are executed electronically via computer
  • There is no central trading floor
  • Trades can occur from anywhere globally
  • Quotes are updated in real-time
  • Information is transparent and publicly available

Additionally, the Nasdaq has three different market tiers:

  • The Nasdaq Global Select Market
  • The Nasdaq Global Market
  • The Nasdaq Capital Market

The main differences between these has to do with listing requirements related to the companies’ sizes and stages.

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Nasdaq Indexes and How They Work

Just like the S&P 500 and Dow Jones indexes, the Nasdaq stock exchange also has its own proprietary indexes. Below are explanations of the two primary Nasdaq indexes:

The Nasdaq Composite Index

The Nasdaq Composite Index tracks the performance of all stocks listed on the Nasdaq stock market. This includes over 3,300 companies across major industry groups like technology, retail, health care, financials, and more.

Key Details:

  • Launched in 1971
  • Weighted by market capitalization
  • No minimum market cap requirement
  • Contains over 3,300 securities
  • Represents about half the market cap of global equity markets

The Nasdaq Composite is one of the three most widely followed indexes, along with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average. It is often used as a broad indicator of technology sector performance.

The Nasdaq-100 Index

The Nasdaq-100 Index includes the 100 largest non-financial companies listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange. It contains many leading technology and internet giants.

Key Details:

Initial Launch 1985
Number of Components 100
Market Cap Minimum $10 billion
Weighting Methodology Market capitalization

Some prominent companies in the Nasdaq-100 index include Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet (Google), Meta (Facebook), PepsiCo, Adobe Systems, PayPal, and more.

The Nasdaq-100 often outperforms the broader Nasdaq Composite Index since it focuses more on fast-growing technology companies. It is also traded via QQQ exchange-traded fund (ETF).

Recent Nasdaq Company IPOs and Listings

The Nasdaq stock exchange has remained highly attractive for IPOs, notably tech IPOs, over the last decade. Here is a list of some of the more prominent recent Nasdaq IPOs and direct listings:

Recent Major Nasdaq IPOs & Listings

Company Industry IPO Year IPO Share Price Current Price
Snowflake Cloud Data 2020 $120 $142
Airbnb Travel/Rental 2020 $68 $94
DoorDash Food Delivery 2020 $102 $74
Coinbase Cryptocurrency 2021 $250 $41
Roblox Gaming Platform 2021 $45 $29
Rivian Electric Vehicles 2021 $78 $15

Snowflake, Airbnb, DoorDash, Coinbase, Roblox, and Rivian are some of the largest and most prominent technology/growth companies that have debuted on the Nasdaq exchange in recent years. The exchange continues positioning itself as the top destination for tech and growth stocks.


Since its launch in 1971 as the world’s first electronic stock exchange, the Nasdaq stock exchange has evolved to become one of the largest and most influential stock markets globally. It brings together over 3,300 public companies and enables the trading of tech giants like Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft.

With cutting edge trading platforms and indexes that investors closely monitor like the Nasdaq Composite and Nasdaq-100, the Nasdaq will continue playing a major role in global equity markets for technology innovators. As emerging growth companies disrupt various industries, they are likely to fuel further expansion of the Nasdaq in the decades ahead as the exchange of choice.





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