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A stock market, equity market, or share market is the aggregation of buyers and sellers of stocks (also called shares), which represent ownership claims on businesses; these may include securities listed on a public stock exchange, as well as stock that is only traded privately, such as shares of private companies which are sold to investors through equity crowdfunding platforms. Investment in the stock market is most often done via stockbrokerages and electronic trading platforms. Investment is usually made with an investment strategy in mind.
The total market capitalization of equity backed securities worldwide rose from US$2.5 trillion in 1980 to US$68.65 trillion at the end of 2018. As of December 31, 2019, the total market capitalization of all stocks worldwide was approximately US$70.75 trillion.
As of 2016, there are 60 stock exchanges in the world. Of these, there are 16 exchanges with a market capitalization of $1 trillion or more, and they account for 87% of global market capitalization. Apart from the Australian Securities Exchange, these 16 exchanges are all in either North America, Europe, or Asia.
By country, the largest stock markets as of January 2020 are in the United States of America (about 54.5%), followed by Japan (about 7.7%) and the United Kingdom (about 5.1%).