When it comes to learning to trade in the stock market, it is first very important that before you even open an account, you learn the stock market fundamentals you will need in order to make money rather than lose it.
One of the first and also the most important stock market fundamentals is understanding exactly what a stock is. A share of stock is a form of ownership. Companies use these stocks to sell off portions of their company ownership in exchange for liquidity. The share of stock itself is a representation of a portion of ownership in that company. If one were to have enough shares in a company, they are able to influence decisions within the company based on voting.
While a business can have shares of stock and not be part of a major stock exchange, this does not mean that you cannot buy them if they are for sale. However for reasons of simplicity, the average person will deal only through a major exchange, as the demand for the stock there is higher, and you can therefore buy the stock when there is less demand and sell it when there is higher demand.
The value of the stock in general is based on this demand, and knowing that there is only so many shares available, so if someone truly wants a share, he or she will increase the value simply by offering more money per share. Should the company run a profit and decide to release a dividend as a means of increasing its value, then this causes a higher demand for the stock and thus increases its value.
In all simplicity, the stock market fundamentals are to know what a stock is, and anticipating an increase in demand for a particular share of stock – when you have mastered this you will probably move away from Stock Market Investing For Dummies and on to a website offering more advanced stock buying techniques.