Although the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ are the two largest exchanges in the world by market value, the older NYSE is the much larger of the two. The big NASDAQ-listed companies continue to help the smaller market compete and as of 2012, the NASDAQ includes the world's most valuable company by market capitalization.
Stock Exchange Values
As of September 2012, the total value of stocks listed on the NYSE was 2.8 times the total value of NASDAQ-listed stocks. Data from the World Federation of Exchanges showed the NYSE with market capitalization of $13.73 trillion. The total market capitalization of the stocks listed on the NASDAQ was $4.80 trillion. The total of the two U.S. stock exchanges made up 35 percent of the global stock market capitalization of $53 trillion.
Numbers of Stocks
More companies list shares on the NASDAQ than on the NYSE. As of 2012, the NASDAQ included the stocks of 2,322 U.S. companies and 288 foreign companies trading as American Depository Receipts, for a total of 2,610. The NYSE listed 1,816 domestic companies and 524 foreign companies, for a total of 2,340. With a smaller total market value and larger number of listed stocks, the average per-company market capitalization of the NASDAQ was an even smaller percentage of the NYSE value than the ratio of total value between the two exchanges.
From the 2012 Fortune 500 list of largest companies by market value, numbers one and three -- Apple and Microsoft -- list on the NASDAQ. The two largest companies on the NYSE were Exxon-Mobil and IBM. However, once you get past the top four stocks, the NYSE dominates the large-company list. The NASDAQ can only claim six spots out of the rest of the top 50 largest companies in the U.S. In general, the older, established large companies such as General Electric and Coca-Cola are on the NYSE and new tech stocks such as Google and Amazon.com are NASDAQ stocks.
The market capitalization of individual stocks and overall markets vary significantly over time. Hard number values are only valid for the point in time when they were measured. For example, from the market peak in mid-2008 to the March 2009 bottom of the bear market, the NYSE shed 47 percent, or about $7 trillion, in market value. Over multi-year periods, the value of stock markets has gone up, but bear markets can have a serious short-term negative effect on stock investors' wealth.
Tim Plaehn has been writing financial, investment and trading articles and blogs since 2007. His work has appeared online at Seeking Alpha, Marketwatch.com and various other websites. Plaehn has a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the U.S. Air Force Academy.