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Different Types of Share Market You Should Know 

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What is a share market?

The share market is the market for trading publicly listed securities. It is also often referred to as the stock market. The share market is a platform that brings together buyers and sellers of listed securities. It is where big and small companies raise funds by offering a part of their companies to investors. Businesses and even government companies can participate in the share market trading.  

In stock market investing anywhere in the world, one can see different types of share market. In the following sections, we will look at two market types in the stock market.

What are the Two Kinds of Share Markets?

In India, the two market types in stock market are the Primary Market and the Secondary Market. 

The primary market is one of the types of share market and is also known as the ‘new issue market’ or the ‘primary issuance market’. It is the market where newly issued securities are bought and sold for the first time. 

Another types of share market is the secondary market, or the market for publicly traded securities. It means a company has already issued an IPO in the primary market and has listed on the stock exchange. Here, the buyers and sellers buy or sell a stock at a price that is expected to give them a profit.    

Primary share market: In the primary types of share market, corporates or government companies raise capital by issuing new securities such as debt, equity and bonds. Here, securities are created and can be issued in domestic and international markets. Here, securities are issued directly to the investors to set up new businesses, or to expand the existing business.  

The different types of issues that take place in the primary types of share market to raise funds in the primary market are Initial Public Offers (IPO), Follow-on Public Offers, Offers for Sale, issuing Indian Depository Receipts, private placement, Rights Issue, Preferred Allotment, Qualified Institutional Placement, Rights Issue and Bonus Issue.

Functions of a Primary Market

A primary types of share market performs three important functions, and they are as follows:

  • Origination: Selling securities in the primary types of share market involves assessing the project’s viability, conducting due diligence about the financial health, operations, and prospects of the company issuing the security, structuring the offering, documentation, regulatory compliance, and marketing and promotion. Origination begins before the issue is brought to the market through commercial banks.
  • Underwriting: Underwriting is an essential aspect of a new issue in the primary types of share market. It is a commitment by the underwriters to buy the unsold shares if the issuing company cannot sell them.  
  • Distribution: The distribution process begins with issuing a prospectus. An invitation to the public to subscribe to the issue is made. A detailed report of the company, the issue, and information about the underwriters is provided to the investors to help them evaluate the issue.

After this, the company issues the securities to investors through either of the ways of raising capital. On receiving the money, the company issues certificates to the investors. When the issue closes, trading on the secondary market begins.  

 Secondary Market

The secondary types of share market is where the securities issued in the primary market are traded. Types of stocks in stock market include shares, bonds, exchange-traded funds, derivatives, and forex instruments. Here, companies are like borrowers, and investors are like lenders. The secondary market includes brokers, dealers, investors, and intermediaries such as wealth advisory companies, banks, and financial institutions as its participants. Also, trading in the stock market can take the form of auctions. 

Functions of the Secondary Market

  • Trading: The secondary types of share market allows investors to buy and sell securities among the participants without the presence of the issuing company. Trading happens continuously during trading hours, and transactions can be done anytime. 
  • Price Determination: The secondary types of share market facilitate the determination of prices of assets in a transaction following the demand and supply for the asset.
  • Monitoring Price Variations: The stock market enables continuous trading, which helps maintain liquidity and keeps price variations in check.
  • Indicates an Economy’s Health: The volume of trade and its value in the secondary types of share market market indicate the economy’s overall health. It also serves as a link between savings and investments. 

The secondary market is divided into two types of share market. They are stock exchanges and over-the-counter markets.   

Stock Exchanges: Stock exchanges are the physical marketplaces for securities to trade without the intervention of the companies. Strict regulations govern the functioning of the stock exchanges and their participants. All major economies around the world have national stock exchanges besides their regional ones. As of 2023, there were 80 major stock exchanges in the world. 

Some of the major stock exchanges in the world are BSE Ltd. (India), the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ (United States of America), the London Stock Exchange (United Kingdom), Deutsche Boerse (Germany), the Shanghai Stock Exchange (China) and the Japan Stock Exchange (Japan) among others.   

Over-the-Counter Markets: Оvеr-thе-Counter (OTC) markets are dеcеntralizеd financial markets where direct trading takes place bеtwееn interested parties. Thеsе markеts offеr flеxibility in nеgotiation tеrms and covеr a diverse range of instrumеnts. Participants communicate directly or through intеrmеdiariеs, allowing for pеrsonalizеd transactions. 

However, OTC markets lack the transparency of cеntralizеd еxchangеs, and countеrparty risk is highеr as transactions are bilatеral. Some of the participants in the OTC markets are brokers, market-makers, custodians, and transfer agents: Dеalеrs facilitatе tradеs and provide liquidity in the OTC markets. Institutional and professional invеstors commonly utilize OTC markets for large and morе complеx transactions.

Some OTC markets are the OTCQX, OTCQB, and the Pink Market (Pink Sheets). OTCQX stands for the Best Market and is the top tier of OTC markets with the most stringent entry requirements for listing. The OTCQB is the middle tier of the OTC markets and is known as the Venture Market. The regulatory and financial requirements required here are less stringent. Finally, the Pink Sheets is the Open Market. No minimum financial standards exist, so this market includes companies that do not wish to disclose their financial information.

Equity & Derivatives Market: The Two Types of Share Market by Instruments Traded

One of the different types of share market classification is based on the financial instrument being traded. 

Equity Market: Equity markеts are one of the types of share market and are also known as stock markеts. They arе cеntralizеd financial platforms whеrе investors buy and sеll ownership intеrеsts or equities in publicly tradеd companies. Thеsе markets comprise both primary and secondary markеts. 

Major stock еxchangеs such as the NYSE and NASDAQ provide liquidity and contribute to pricе discovеry. Equity markеts arе charactеrizеd by thе divеrsе participation of individual and institutional invеstors and thеy opеratе undеr regulatory ovеrsight to еnsurе fair and transparеnt trading. 

Markеt indicеs such as thе Dow Jones, S&P 500, and Sensex track the performance of representative baskеts of stocks and sеrve as bеnchmarks. The BSE Limited is Asia’s first and the world’s fastest stock exchange, which has aided the growth of Indian companies by helping them raise capital efficiently and transparently. With global connectivity and еlеctronic trading, еquity markеts play a pivotal role in capital formation. They еnable companies to raise funds and invеstors to participate in thе ownership and growth of businеssеs. 

Derivative market: Derivatives are among the various financial instruments traded in the secondary types of share market. They are complex financial instruments or contracts whose value is derived from an underlying asset. The instruments traded in the derivatives market are futures, options, forwards, and swaps. The underlying assets on which the contracts are made are stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities, interest rates, and market indices. The derivatives are types of share market that help manage risk, transfer risk to stakeholders, and help speculators make money. 

The National Stock Exchange (India) was named the world’s largest derivatives exchange group by the number of contracts traded in 2023 for the fifth year.   


  1. What are the types of share markets?

    The two types of share market are the primary and the secondary markets.

  2. What are the different types of secondary markets?

    Stock exchanges and the OTC markets are the two types of share market of secondary markets.

  3. What types of shares are available in the market?

    The types of stocks in stock market are equity shares, ordinary shares, redeemable shares, value stocks, growth stocks, cumulative preference shares, rights issues, and bonus shares.

  4. What are the common investment instrument types traded in the share market?

    Some commonly traded investment instruments are stocks, bonds, mutual funds, index funds, exchange-traded funds, and options.

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I’m Archana R. Chettiar, an experienced content creator with
an affinity for writing on personal finance and other financial content. I
love to write on equity investing, retirement, managing money, and more.

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