NASDAQ Definition

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NASDAQ is a computerized system established by the NASD to facilitate trading by providing broker/dealers with current bid and ask price quotes on over-the-counter stocks and some listed stocks. Unlike the Amex and the NYSE, the NASDAQ (once an acronym for the National Association of securities Dealers Automated Quotation system) does not have a physical trading floor that brings together buyers and sellers. Instead, all trading on the NASDAQ exchange is done over a network of computers and telephones. Also, the NASDAQ does not employ market specialists to buy unfilled orders like the NYSE does. The NASDAQ began when brokers started informally trading via telephone; the network was later formalized and linked by computer in the early 1970s. In 1998 the parent company of the NASDAQ purchased the Amex, although the two continue to operate separately. Orders for stock are sent out electronically on the NASDAQ, where market makers list their buy and sell prices. Once a price is agreed upon, the transaction is executed electronically.

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ASK PRICE, in the context of the over-the-counter market, the term "ask" refers to the lowest price at which a market maker will sell a specified number of shares of a stock at any given time. The term "bid" refers to the highest price a market maker will pay to purchase the stock. The ask price (also known as the "offer" price) will almost always be higher than the bid price. Market makers make money on the difference between the bid price and the ask price. That difference is called the "spread".

BANK OVERDRAFT see OVERDRAFT.

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