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What is a Little Board?

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  • Written By: H. Bliss
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 18 May 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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Little board used to be a term used to refer to the American Stock Exchange® (Amex®), but traders often refer to any smaller stock exchange in the United States as a little board. Amex® was called the little board because it usually has just under half the activity of the big board. Amex® has merged with the New York Stock Exchange® and is now called NYSE Amex Equities, so most traders now use the term little board to refer to stock board or stock transactions that do not take place on the big board. For instance, if a stock transaction took place on Amex®, it would be a "little board transaction."

The standards imposed on companies who want to offer stock on Amex® or NYSE® are called listing standards. Listing standards include regulations on stock price, company earnings, and the number of stock shares offered. In general, NYSE® has more stringent requirements than Amex®. The most common types of investment traded on Amex® are exchange traded funds (ETF), small-cap stocks and derivatives. A derivative is a contract that gets its value from the assets in the contract. One common example of a derivative is a futures contract, in which one party agrees to buy a certain quantity of a product or security at set price and date in the future.

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An ETF is a type of mutual fund, which is a bundle of securities like stocks and bonds. One advantage to ETFs over mutual funds is that more foreign investors are eligible to trade most ETFs. Small-cap stocks are stocks with a smaller-than-usual market capitalization, also called market cap. In the stock market, market capitalization is the collective value of the available stocks of a public company, based on the value of each purchased share on the market.

Stocks are ownership shares of a company or organization that are sold on the stock market. A stock exchange is a physical location in which stock traders can buy or sell stocks. As the stock exchange with the largest market share of public stock, the New York Stock Exchange® handles more traded stock than any other stock market in the world. Market share is the percentage of the available business a business entity handles.

The other major stock market aside from Amex® and NYSE® is NASDAQ®. Though officially called "The NASDAQ® Stock Market," NASDAQ® stands for National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations, but NASDAQ® has generally stopped using the long form of the acronym. Some traders refer to NASDAQ® as a little board, but it almost rivals NYSE® in its trading volume. NASDAQ® is an electronically traded market, meaning it does not have a physical building where trades occur and all transactions are conducted by phone. Other than its all-electronic trading, NASDAQ® is considered to be largely similar to Amex®.

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