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In years past, traders used to go to a physical location — the exchange’s floor — to trade, but now virtually all trading takes place electronically. If you keep reading about the stock market but aren't sure thewallstreetfox.com what stocks actually are, it's not a big deal. The concept of the stock market can be unfamiliar financial territory for many people. Stocks, also called equities, give shareholders a small stake in a company. An investor buys these shares, giving companies cash flow, and in return, the company provides value in return.