Who owns the US stock market?

Warren Buffett doesn’t own the US stock market, although he probably wouldn’t mind it. Neither do Vanguard, BlackRock, and State Street – the three asset managers who supposedly “own” corporate America. Nor does some secret society with rich and influential members. The fact remains that it might not be possible for a person or a conglomerate to own the US stock market. Its ownership and administration are rather participative.

US Stock Market

The US stock market comprises its stock exchanges, brokers, and other participants. There are over a dozen stock exchanges in the USA. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the NASDAQ are the two most important among these, featuring at the top among the largest stock exchanges in the world. Apart from these two exchanges, Chicago hosts four stock exchanges, with one in Boston, Miami, and Philadelphia.


The NYSE was owned by NYSE Euronext, which is a financial services corporation owning stock exchanges and clearing houses all over Europe and America. The company itself is the outcome of a merger and is part European and part American, and presently owned by Intercontinental Exchange. With market capitalization close to $ 24.5 trillion as of January this year, NYSE is the largest stock exchange in the world.


Created by the National Association of Securities Dealers, the 50-year-old NASDAQ is now the world’s second-largest stock exchange. It had a market capitalization of over $19 trillion early this year. Some of its listed companies include technology bigwigs like Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft.

Both NYSE and NASDAQ were private companies but went public in 2006 and 2002, respectively. These and most US stock exchanges are owned by self-regulating organizations made up of member brokers, traders and market makers.

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