In economics, financial markets are mechanisms that allow people to buy and sell (trade) financial securities (such as stocks and bonds), commodities (such as precious metals or agricultural goods), and other fungible items of value at low transaction costs and at prices that reflect the efficient-market hypothesis.

Both general (where many commodities are traded) and specialised markets (where only one commodity is traded) exist. Markets work by placing many interested buyers and sellers in one “place”, thus making it easier for them to find each other. An economy which relies primarily on interactions between buyers and sellers to allocate resources is known as a market economy in contrast either to a command economy or to a non-market economy such as a gift economy.