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A stock market or equity market is a place where stocks are bought and sold at prices governed by demand and supply. It is one of the most vital areas of an economy because it gives companies access to capital and investors a slice of ownership in a company with the potential to realize gains based on its future performance. 

This market can be split into two main segments: the primary and secondary market. The primary market is where a company issues a public offer to raise capital. Any subsequent trading of company stocks takes place in the secondary market.