Each day at the New York Stock Exchange, millions of dollars can be made or lost in a matter of minutes. Before you can take on Wall Street, Maria says you need to know the basics. First, what is a stock? "A stock is opportunity for you and me to own part of a company," Maria says.
For example, if a company like American Express wants to expand, they need money to do it, Maria explains. "They will sell a portion of their company to the public in exchange for money, and that gives you and me the opportunity to buy a stake in American Express," she says.
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Now that you know what a stock is, Maria explains what makes the price of it go up and down. "At the simplest level, it has everything to do with supply and demand," she says. "If there are a lot of people buying the stock, it's going to push [the price] higher. If there are people selling the stock ... the price is going to go down."