why are there multiple stock markets?

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Why is there a DOW and Nasdaq for example, couldn’t they all be consolidated into one?

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There’s also the TSX, the Nikkei, the DAX, FSTE, the CME, and more around the world. The simple answer is that people do trading where they live. The NASDAQ exchange was created to be a cheaper/faster platform than the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

But a correction: The “DOW” is not a stock exchange. It’s a weighted average of 30 large industrial corporations created ([by a joint venture](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%26P_Dow_Jones_Indices)) to represent the overall state of the American business economy

They do have slightly different rules and enforce these in a slightly different way. Stock exchanges are a form of regulatory body making sure that publicly traded companies disclose their information in a proper way and conduct themselves properly. At the same time the stock exchanges are competing against each other trying to get as many people trading on them as possible by having more stocks available but also have few badly behaved stocks.

A stock exchange is where companies list their shares, so that people can buy and sell those shares. The two biggest stock exchanges in the USA are the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange,) and the NASDAQ (National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations.)

Generally, bigger companies list on NYSE, pricing is more stable, and buyers and sellers are directly matched with each other. NASDAQ is more for up and coming companies, pricing is a bit more volatile, and people buy and sell through middle men.

DOW is not a stock exchange. When people talk about the Dow, they’re talking about the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is just an index that tracks the price of 30 large companies that are listed either on NYSE or NASDAQ.

At least some of them are run by companies (including NASDAQ and NYSE), so this is a bit akin to asking why there are different grocery store chains. Nobody wants to close up shop while they’re making money, and neither are they able to force their competitors to close up shop. (They probably wouldn’t want to even if they could, since then governments would keep an even more watchful eye on them, to make sure they don’t engage in anticompetitive behavior.)

Some of them are run or semi-run by countries, but a similar principal applies: no country wants to be the one to give up their exchange.

So a simple answer may be in the form of a question: what would be in it for them to consolidate?