NEW! Our Hero’s Journey tool can help you with your next step towards financial freedom - click here to try now.
Advertiser Disclosure

NYSE, Nasdaq, and London Stock Exchange: what makes them all different?

NYSE, Nasdaq, and London Stock Exchange: what makes them all different?
Image source: Getty Images

Understanding some of the most popular stock exchanges can be really helpful for investors. You may have even heard names like NYSE, Nasdaq, and London Stock Exchange before.

Compare stocks and shares ISAs

If you’re planning to open a stocks and shares ISA, choosing the right platform is important. To help you narrow down the choices, we’ve created a list of some of the top stocks and shares ISAs.

Previously, we’ve looked at the difference between a stock market and a stock exchange. Let’s take a look at all you need to know about these secondary markets and what makes each one unique.

New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

The NYSE is the big daddy of all stock exchanges.

There are currently over 3,000 stocks listed on the exchange and the number of trades that take place each day is usually well over a billion!

When you think of money, you think of Wall Street. That famous street is home to the NYSE, though the headquarters have been moved occasionally, like during the Great Fire of New York in 1835.

The evolution of the world’s biggest stock exchange went something like this:

  • 1792 – Twenty-four stockbrokers met on Wall Street and signed the Buttonwood Agreement to facilitate more organised trading of securities in the United States.
  • 1817 – The organisation decided to draft a more formal constitution and rename themselves the New York Stock and Exchange Board.
  • 1863 – The name changed to simply become the “New York Stock Exchange”.
  • 1903 – The New York Stock Exchange opened in its current location.

The trading floor of the NYSE has seen plenty of animated activity over the years, with theatre-like performances of auction trading. Gradually, the exchange has adopted technology but also maintains a physical presence to remain the world’s biggest hub of financial activity.


Nasdaq is also based in America but is a more modern electronic marketplace for trading securities. It’s the second-largest stock exchange in the world and quite different from the NYSE.

There’s no physical space or trading floor. All trading takes place electronically, which makes sense because this exchange is all about technology.

The Nasdaq came to life in 1971. It was launched initially to help provide information to investors electronically. Now it facilitates billions of trades per day and is home to even more listed companies than the NYSE. Although many of these businesses are smaller in size than those listed on the NYSE.

Are you making these 3 common investing mistakes?

These all-too-common investing errors could lead to missing out on the long-term wealth-building power that shares can hold….

To help you learn more about these pitfalls, how to avoid them, and how you could move forward on a path to wealth-building, we’ve created a free report, “The 3 Worst Mistakes New Investors Make”.

Just enter your best email below for instant access to your free copy.

By checking this box and submitting your email address, you agree to MyWalletHero sending you emails with money tips, along with details of products and services that we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe from future emails at any time. You also consent to us processing your personal data in line with our privacy policy, and our cookie statement. For more information, including how we collect, store, and handle personal data, please read our Privacy Statement and Terms & Conditions.

The Nasdaq is a dealer market, whereas the NYSE is an auction market. So the method of sale is slightly different for securities. Also, the total value (market capitalisation) of all the companies listed on the Nasdaq is smaller than that of the NYSE.

London Stock Exchange (LSE)

The UK actually had its own Royal Exchange set up for merchants and financial dealings way back in 1571. However, many local stockbrokers were deemed unfit to trade there, and so deals were taking place in some of London’s local coffee houses.

In 1773, a group of these coffee-drinking stockbrokers got together and formally created the LSE.

The LSE went on to become the biggest stock exchange in the world for a time.
Although the LSE is now smaller and worth less than the NYSE and the Nasdaq, it’s much more internationally diverse.

Rather than focusing heavily on the UK, the LSE is a true international hub of financial activity. There are over 1,000 companies from around a hundred different countries listed on the exchange’s Main Market.

The LSE tends to have a slightly lower trading volume compared to its American counterparts listed above. Still, the LSE often sees upwards of hundreds of millions of trades each day.

How do these exchanges impact investors?

As an individual investor, you probably won’t interact with these stock exchanges directly. Any trades you make through a share dealing account will make the purchases and sales on your behalf.

Brokers generally charge fees for making trades on stock exchanges. That said, some newer brokers like Freetrade don’t actually charge you any commission!

You can also invest in some of the top companies listed on these stock exchanges by selecting index funds that mimic the Nasdaq Composite or the FTSE 100. This can give you a diversified portfolio without having to pick all the stocks yourself.

Reviewed and rated 4 stars out of 5 by MyWalletHero

Need investment advice? Get a free initial review lasting up to 1 hour, plus £50 off any follow-up advice.

MyWalletHero has sourced you a £50 discount off the cost of advice when you find an independent or whole-of-market financial adviser through*. All advisers are FCA-regulated, qualified and give fully unbiased advice. To find yourself an adviser fast and for free – use the Unbiased matching tool.

*This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. For more information on why and how we work with partners, click here.

Was this article helpful?

Some offers on MyWalletHero are from our partners — it’s how we make money and keep this site going. But does that impact our ratings? Nope. Our commitment is to you. If a product isn’t any good, our rating will reflect that, or we won’t list it at all. Also, while we aim to feature the best products available, we do not review every product on the market. Learn more here. The statements above are The Motley Fool’s alone and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Barclays, Hargreaves Lansdown, HSBC Holdings, Lloyds Banking Group, Mastercard, and Tesco.