First of all, I'd like to say I love the forums, I'm a long long-time reader, and a first-time poster. I have recently come across several YouTube videos and blog posts that explain how market makers manipulate prices to trap retail traders. I primarily day trade low to mid float stocks with momentum strategies. Everyone who does this knows very well that the charts can get very choppy, and a huge flush candle can come out of nowhere in a split second. For a while, I've been trying to understand how fluctuations like this can happen so rapidly. I understand that there are algos and automated trading systems, but someone needs "own" a huge block of shares in order to long/short a stock and push it 50 cents in 1 second. They essentially need to wipe out all the bids/offers that are lined up. I'd like to learn more about the inner-works of the stock market. There are several layers of entities that are involved each time a trade is executed (broker/market maker/exchange/clearing house), and I realized that I am putting my money on the line each time I trade, and I don't really have an idea what's going on in the back end. This brings me to my question(s): What role does the broker actually hold? Are they just the bridge between me and the market maker? Does it matter whether it's a direct-access broker or a broker like TD/Schwab/Robinhood? When I buy/short a stock, who am I "actually" buying/borrowing it from? Is the stock coming from my broker or the market maker? and do they need to really hold the stock in order to lend it to me, or do they just create a record of it from thin air? Who controls the price of a specific stock? I understand the laws of supply and demand, but I keep hearing that market makers earn their money from the spread and they control the price and liquidity... How does it actually work? When I place an order to buy at the ask price of $10, someone is selling it to me at that price. Does the sale occur when there's another seller that's willing to sell the stock to me for $10 (whether it's a retail trader or high-frequency bot)? Or does the sale occur when the marker maker decides they are willing to buy at $10? I guess, essentially what I'm asking is, are traders really trading between themselves? Or is this a system where people place buy and sell orders, and the market makers fill the orders if they choose to do so when it's profitable for them? What is the full flow of a stock, from A to Z? Assuming I am not buying at the ask price. What is the sequence of events that happen from the moment I click on the buy-at-bid price, through order fulfillment (assuming my order gets filled), until the cash is settled and I "own" the stock? ------------------- I know this is a very long post, and I appreciate any input on any of the questions I posted above. If it's too much for you to type, I'll be grateful if you can also point me to other resources where I can learn more about this. Thanks!