Q&A: What is “the stock market”?

A common phrase people say is “the stock market is up/down today”, but what does that mean? Saying that actually doesn’t make any sense because there are multiple “stock markets” in the world (see What is a stock exchange?). “The stock market” as a whole refers to all of the exchanges and markets, but what someone is usually referring to is a common stock index like the S&P 500 or the Dow.

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