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If you buy stocks or bonds when they are initially offered for sale, and the money you spend goes to the issuer, you are buying in the primary market.
In contrast, if you buy a security at some point after issue, and the amount you pay goes to an investor who is selling the security, you're buying in the secondary market.
The term primary market also applies the leading or main markets for trading various products. For example, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is a primary market for stocks.
Any market in which the original issuer receives money, such as an investment house that purchases all securities for an original issue and then resells them on the stock market. Also called the loan origination market. Contrast with secondary market, where mortgages are pooled and then sold to others.