Stock, Share & Equity
Share or Stock are synonyms that denote ownership of a business by the person that owns the share or stock. There is practically no difference in the way the terms are used. Earlier companies used to issue a paper called as 'stock certificate' or 'share certificate', which would indicate the total number of shares held by the owner and the face value of the share. Nowadays the shares or stock are held only in electronic format and companies do not issue a physical paper certificate.br/>One more term commonly used is equity that also denotes partial ownership of a company by the holder. Though all the three terms are synonymously used there are typical usages for each word. For example, one would own stocks of a lot of companies whereas one would own shares in a company. A person can be an equity investor in a privately held company but such a person would generally not be called a stock investor or share investor in such a privately held company.
Explanation of shares/ stocks:
Ownership of a stock entitles the holder to receive dividends or receive proportionate proceeds from a liquidation event. Two types of stocks that normally exist are 'Common Stocks' and 'Preferred stocks'. Preferred stock holders have certain preference in terms of receiving dividends or liquidation proceeds of a company.
Companies that want to raise capital for starting a business or for business expansion issue stocks or shares. The process of offering stocks to general public happens through a process called as IPO (Initial Public Offering). If an investor purchases shares of a company through IPO it is called 'primary purchase' and the purchases after the stock is listed on a stock exchange are called as 'secondary market purchase'.
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