Primary Market

Definition of ‘Primary Market’


A market that issues new securities on an exchange. Companies, governments and other groups obtain financing through debt or equity based securities. Primary markets are facilitated by underwriting groups, which consist of investment banks that will set a beginning price range for a given security and then oversee its sale directly to investors.

Also known as “new issue market” (NIM). 

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The primary markets are where investors can get first crack at a new security issuance. The issuing company or group receives cash proceeds from the sale, which is then used to fund operations or expand the business. Exchanges have varying levels of requirements which must be met before a security can be sold.

Once the initial sale is complete, further trading is said to conduct on the secondary market, which is where the bulk of exchange trading occurs each day. Primary markets can see increased volatility over secondary markets because it is difficult to accurately gauge investor demand for a new security until several days of trading have occurred.

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