Introduction to Stocks

A holder of stock (a shareholder) has a claim to a part of the corporation's assets and earnings. In other words, a shareholder is an owner of a company. Ownership is determined by the number of shares a person owns relative to the number of outstanding shares. For example, if a company has 1,000 shares of stock outstanding and one person owns 100 shares, that person would own and have claim to 10% of the company's assets

Stocks are the foundation of nearly every portfolio. Historically, they have outperformed most other investments over the long run.

Stocks are generally traded in stock markets. Stock markets are markets in which shares are issued and traded either through exchanges or over-the-counter markets. Also known as the equity market, it is one of the most vital areas of a market economy as it provides companies with access to capital and investors with a slice of ownership in the company and the potential of gains based on the company's future performance.