A stock market, equity market or share market is the aggregation of buyers and sellers (a loose network of economic transactions, not a physical facility or discrete entity) of stocks (also called shares), which represent ownership claims on businesses; these may include securities listed on a stock exchange as well as those only traded privately in America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
Stocks can also be categorized in various ways. One common way is by the country where the company is domiciled. For example, Nestlé and Novartis are domiciled in Switzerland, so they may be considered as part of the Swiss stock market, although their stock may also be traded at exchanges in other countries.
At the close of 2012, the size of the world stock market (total market capitalisation) was about US$55 trillion. By country, the largest market was the United States (about 34%), followed by Japan (about 6%) and the United Kingdom (about 6%). This went up more in 2013.
There are a total of 60 stock exchanges in the world with a total market capitalization of $69 trillion. Of these there are 16 exchanges that have a market capitalization of $1 trillion each and they account for 87% of global market capitalization. Apart from the Australian Securities Exchange, all of these 16 exchanges are divided between three continents: North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.