What is NASDAQ - Meaning, History & How to Invest | Religare Broking

What is NASDAQ and How Does It Work?

NASDAQ, the world-renowned stock exchange, is a vital platform for trading securities, particularly technology-related stocks. With its origins dating back to 1971, it has established itself as a premier electronic marketplace. As one of the largest global stock exchanges, it provides investors and traders unparalleled opportunities to participate in the dynamic tech industry.

It does so by offering a comprehensive index of technology stocks that drive innovation and shape the future of the global economy. Let’s explore more about this exchange in this detailed guide.

What is NASDAQ?

NASDAQ, the world’s first electronic stock market, is prominent in the global financial landscape. In 1971, it revolutionised the trading industry by introducing electronic trading systems, replacing traditional floor-based trading. This groundbreaking approach set the stage for a new era of efficiency, transparency, and accessibility in stock trading.

NASDAQ fullform stands for National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations. Its advanced technology infrastructure provides market participants with real-time trading opportunities, contributing to its reputation as a leading exchange for technology-driven companies.

Its NASDAQ index serves as a benchmark for the performance of these innovative companies, showcasing the advancements and growth in the technology sector. By focusing on technology and innovation-driven companies, it has become a hub for investors seeking exposure to the dynamic and ever-evolving tech industry.

This emphasis on innovation has propelled NASDAQ to the forefront of the financial world, reflecting the growing importance of technology in shaping the future of the global economy.

History of the NASDAQ

NASDAQ has experienced remarkable growth since its inception in 1971. Initially established as a quotation system, it quickly evolved into a highly competitive exchange, rivalling the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in terms of trading volume and technological advancements. Over the years, the exchange has embraced innovation, adopting cutting-edge technologies to enhance its trading infrastructure and provide investors with fast and efficient trading experiences.

This commitment to technological advancement has attracted many companies to list on it and solidified its position as a leading exchange for technology-driven enterprises. As a result, this index has become a widely recognised benchmark for tracking the performance of the technology sector.

The exchange’s journey from a humble quotation system to a trailblazing exchange showcases its unwavering dedication to adaptability and driving progress in the financial industry.

How Does It Work?

NASDAQ operates through a sophisticated market structure that enables seamless trading of stocks and other securities. The exchange facilitates this process through its advanced trading platforms, which connect buyers and sellers quickly and efficiently.

Market makers play a vital role in maintaining liquidity on this trading exchange. These entities, typically brokerage firms or financial institutions, commit to continuously buying and selling a particular stock to ensure a consistent market for investors. Market makers contribute to price stability and overall market efficiency by providing liquidity.

In recent years, it has leveraged cutting-edge technology to enhance its trading infrastructure and improve the trading experience for market participants. One of the notable advancements is the utilisation of high-speed electronic trading systems. These systems employ complex algorithms and powerful computing capabilities to execute trades at lightning speed, reducing transaction times to mere microseconds.

Furthermore, it has embraced innovations such as co-location services, where market participants can physically locate their trading servers near the exchange’s data centres. This proximity minimises latency and allows faster data transmission, giving traders a competitive edge in executing their strategies.

Further, it has implemented robust surveillance and risk management tools to ensure the integrity of its marketplace. Advanced market surveillance systems continuously monitor trading activities to detect irregularities or potential market manipulation. This proactive approach helps maintain investor confidence and protects the overall fairness of the market.

How to List Scrips on NASDAQ?

NASDAQ, being one of the premier stock exchanges in the world, presents an attractive platform for companies to list their securities. However, listing a company requires meeting certain criteria and going through a well-defined process.

Firstly, companies must meet stringent financial requirements, including minimum levels of net tangible assets, operating income, and market capitalisation . Also, they must satisfy regulatory requirements, such as filing periodic reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and adhering to applicable securities laws.

Furthermore, the exchange places high importance on corporate governance standards. Companies must have a majority-independent board of directors and establish various committees to oversee their operations. Compliance with these standards ensures transparency and accountability, which are crucial for investor confidence.

The listing process itself involves:

  • Submitting an application.

  • Providing comprehensive disclosure documents.

  • Undergoing a thorough review by the exchange’s listing qualification staff.

This process evaluates the company’s financial health, compliance with regulatory standards, and corporate governance practices.

By successfully listing on NASDAQ, companies gain access to a wide range of investors and increased visibility in the financial markets. It also provides opportunities for future growth and additional financing options.

What is the NASDAQ Composite Index and How to Invest in it?

The NASDAQ Composite Index is a stock market index that includes almost all NASDAQ-listed stocks, making it a comprehensive measure of the performance of technology and internet-related companies. It serves as a benchmark for investors and analysts to assess the overall health and trends in the tech sector. The Index is known for its heavy weighting towards technology giants such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google.

Investing in this Composite Index can be done through index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). These investment vehicles allow investors to gain exposure to a diversified portfolio of stocks within the index. Index funds aim to replicate the index’s performance by holding a proportionate amount of each component stock. On the other hand, ETFs are traded on stock exchanges like individual stocks, allowing investors to buy and sell throughout the trading day.

Investing through index funds or ETFs provides a convenient and cost-effective way to participate in the growth potential of the technology sector. It allows investors to diversify their portfolios and reduce individual stock risk. However, as with any investment, conduct thorough research, consider risk tolerance, and consult a financial advisor to make informed investment decisions.

How to Invest in NASDAQ?

There are several options available to individuals to invest in NASDAQ-listed companies. One common approach is directly purchasing stocks of specific companies listed on the exchange. This requires careful research and analysis of individual companies to determine their potential for growth and profitability. Another avenue is through mutual funds that focus on the listed companies. These funds pool money from multiple investors and are managed by professionals who make investment decisions on behalf of the fund.

Investing in mutual funds offers diversification across various companies within the index. Additionally, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that track this Composite Index provide a broader exposure to the entire index. ETFs offer the benefit of intraday trading and can be bought and sold on stock exchanges like individual stocks.


NASDAQ is one of the largest stock exchanges in the world, known for its high-tech and innovative companies. With its advanced trading technology and strict listing requirements, it continues to attract top companies and provide investors with opportunities for growth and diversification.

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