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Common Stocks  

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Common stocks are the shares of a company that give the holder a claim to the equity of the company. Common stock is traded on public markets and its price is determined by market demand. Companies issue common stock as a way to generate capital (equity) that can be used to grow and improve the company's operations.

Common stock holders are owners of the company and have a right to elect the board of directors and participate in the revenue stream of the company. The holder of common stock has no guarantee of a return and because common stock holders are the last in line of all the owners of equity in the company; buying common stock in a company involves risk. The investor hopes that the company will provide a return to its common stock holders by issuing dividends or by improving its operations and increasing the value of the stock.

Related Terms: Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) - Standard and Poor's 500 Index - S&P 500 - New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) - Wall Street - Blue Chip Stocks

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