As evident - its not such a straight-forward topic.
Much simpler one : WHERE IS 'MARKET'?
Apparently, running the market is a big business - some companies have thousands employees. They have their own stocks, paying their own dividends, drowning in their own debt.
ICE Intercontinental Exchange owns NYSE and more, Nasdaq NDAQ owns itself, options are on CBOE and somehow Merc is still around CME.
Brokers: Schwab - where I am, Ameritrade - where TOS is, E-Trade - where baby is, and Interactive Brokers - where everybody else is (I was).
Then there are enablers, hot potato packers, dope-a-hope dealers: BlackRock BLK with iShares; State Street STT with SPDR's; Invesco IVZ with PowerShare; and HFT purveyor Virtu freshly public as VIRT.
.-correction-. Forget VIRT. It trades by appointment. Replace with BEN.
In accordance with Dow Paradox (link), Wall Street'ers have a very important permanent role in a market. Whether they make money or not, the opportunity is always there. Remember: these are the people that win all the time, even when they are loosing. Trading their stocks is a totally different story.
Thinking about world of finance I suddenly realized that one way or the other these stocks are all around me - either I trade them, or use them, or hear about them all the time. To round up usual suspects:
Four money center banks dominate everything in financial markets - WFC, JPM, BAC and C.
Four prominent companies in non-cash money business - Visa V, Master Card MC, PayPal PYPL and Western Union WU.
Goldman GS and MorganStanley MS... I'll keep 'em separated.
I haven't got around to insurance companies, regional banks, etc, but I currently think ... its enough for now...
'Private and Public"(link). They haven't done well, with odd CSI signal here and there, I am still waiting and watching.
These people are a little closer to where I am. Over the past year, their business and stock prices have been thoroughly fucked.
I don't dare to present this as a comprehensive financials list, but I think it gives a pretty good view of
'Where money eats and sleeps".
Programming note: this theme continues under label 'CG'.
Finviz link for all stocks in this group