Why does the stock market go up and down? Theses fluctuations occur partly because companies make money, or lose money, but it is much more involved than that. A stock is only worth what someone will pay for it. Usually, if a company makes a lot of money, its value rises, because people are willing to pay more for a company's stock if the company is doing well. There are many other factors that affect the value of stocks. One example is interest rates, or the amount of money you have to pay a bank to loan money, or how much it has to pay you to keep your money in their bank. If interest rates are high, stock prices generally go down, because if people can make a decent amount of money, by keeping their money in banks, or buying bonds, they feel like they should not take the risk in the stock market.
Many other factors have an effect on the stock market- for example, the state of the economy. If there is more money floating around, there is more flowing into companies making their prices rise. Yet another factor is time of year, and publicity. Many stocks are seasonal, meaning they do well during certain parts of the year, and worse during others. An example is an ice company, the ones that package ice that you buy at the supermarket. During the summer, with picnics, and sweltering heat, their
product sells well, and thus their stock price goes up; But during the winter, when people are not as interested in a picnic with 20 below temperatures, their price goes down. Publicity has an effect on stock prices. If an article comes out saying that company ABC, has just invented this new type of ice that will revolutionize the industry, odds are their price will increase. Conversely, if an article comes out saying that company ABC's president is a crook, and stole the pension funds, it is a good bet that the price will go down.