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In case you'd like to shop in the stock market...


© St. Petersburg Times, published February 15, 2001

Chapter One: Making Money

"Down on Wall Street."

"The Dow is up by 500 points."

"The market has reacted to the Fed's raising interest rates."

These are comments we hear in the news constantly. Do you know what they mean? Welcome to the world of the stock market.

The market is a place where people can buy or sell their interest in companies through something called stocks. A stock is simply a "piece" of ownership in that company, purchased for an amount that changes all the time. For example, if you decide to invest money in a company such as Coca-Cola, you do so by purchasing shares, or units, of stock. This buys you a piece of that company, for which you receive a stock certificate, or "security" as proof of your ownership. If it does well, your stock may be worth more money than you paid for it. If the company performs poorly, your stock may fall in value. Buying and selling stock is done through stock exchanges, marketplaces where actual sales of stock take place.

Money Stuff: Get it! Spend it! Keep It!

Introduction and previous chapters

When stock market trading is mentioned, most often we are referring to the New York Stock Exchange, which is a real place on Wall Street in New York City. There are others, too, such as NASDAQ (National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations system), American Stock Exchange and Chicago Board of Trade. Other countries throughout the world have their own exchanges, too. When you decide to buy or sell a stock, a representative -- called a broker -- will make sure trades are completed for you through one of these exchanges. (The money you pay this broker to do this is called a commission. Alas, nothing is free.)

Because it is the largest exchange in the United States, let's concentrate on the New York Stock Exchange, which is often referred to as the "Big Board." We'll discuss how exchanges operate in more detail next week. But let's take a quick look at what they are by having a little fun with the stock exchange's history.

You've probably seen the popular TV game show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Well, here is our own version, based on the stock market and the New York Stock Exchange.

The following contest questions are valued from $100 to $1-million. Play along and see how much money you can win. Graphics provide subtle hints. The answers are provided at the end of the article. Don't cheat! See how informed you really are about the "Big Board." You may want to visit the New York Stock Exchange Web site,, to brush up on your facts first.

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Play the contest.

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Anna Vanlandingham is an advanced placement economics teacher at Lake Mary High School in Seminole County. She has been a teacher for 20 years and has won several national and state economic education awards. Chapters on the securities industry have been reviewed by the Florida State Comptroller's Office, which is responsible for protecting consumer rights in the securities industry.

About the Florida Council on Economic Education

Money Stuff was developed by the Florida Council on Economic Education and project director Fonda Anderson. The council is a statewide non-profit organization founded in 1975 to educate K-12 teachers and students about the free enterprise system and to instill in them an appreciation for a market economy. For more information on the council's programs for teachers and students, please call (813) 289-8489.

About Newspaper in Education

The St. Petersburg Times devotes news space to NIE features throughout the year, including this classroom series. The Times' NIE department works with local businesses and individuals to enrich the classroom experience by providing newspapers, supplemental guides and educational services to schools in the Tampa Bay area. To find out how you can become involved in NIE, please call (727) 893-8969 or (800) 333-7505, ext. 8969.

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