Shares are units of equity ownership in a corporation. For some companies, shares exist as a financial asset providing for an equal distribution of any residual profits, if any are declared, in the form of dividends. Shareholders of a stock that pays no dividends do not participate in a distribution of profits. Instead, they anticipate participating in the growth of the stock price as company profits increase.
Shares represent equity stock in a firm, with the two main types of shares being common shares and preferred shares. As a result, “shares” and “stock” are commonly used interchangeably.
Most companies issue common shares. These provide shareholders with a residual claim on the company and its profits, providing potential investment growth through both capital gains and dividends. Common shares also come with voting rights, giving shareholders more control over the business.
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