The Basics of the Stock Market
The type of equity securities with which most people are familiar is stock. Stocks may be designated as common stock, the most widely known form, or as preferred stock. When investors buy stock, they become owners of a "share" of a company's assets. Many U.S. businesses are privately owned, but investors can buy shares in more than 10,000 corporations that are publicly traded. This includes most of the titans of industry, such as Microsoft and Coca Cola, as well as many small companies. Today, many millions of people in the United Stock own stock in publicly traded companies or in equity mutual funds that invest in stocks.
Generally, stocks are traded in blocks or multiples of 100 shares, which
are called round lots. An amount of stock
consisting of fewer than 100 shares is said to be an
odd lot. On an exchange, an order that involves both a round lot
and an odd lot, say 175 shares will be treated as two different trades
and may be executed at different prices. Your broker will charge you a
different commission on each trade, and will confirm each of them separately.
These distinctions are not generally involved in trades executed in the
OTC market. Some stocks are "restricted" or "unregistered," so designated
because they were originally issued in a private sale or other transaction
where they were not registered with the Securities Exchange Commission
(SEC). Restricted or unregistered securities may not be freely resold unless
a registration statement is filed with the SEC or unless an exemption under
the law permits resale.
| Stock Main Page | Table of Contents | Corporate Finance Course |