Stocks are a type of security that represents ownership in a company. When you buy stock, you have a stake in the future success of that company. You can also use them as an investment to profit from those anticipated earnings.
A stock represents ownership in a company
The stock market is where you buy and sell stocks issued by companies as a way to raise money. A company’s stock price is based on its earnings prospects. Investors buy these assets to profit from their value rising over time.
Owning stock gives you a right to vote on company issues
Shareholders have voting rights, or the right to vote on company issues. You can do this at an annual meeting or by mail. Shareholder voting rights are proportional to the number of shares held. Larger shareholders have more voting power than smaller ones.
Sometimes shareholders do not exercise their right to vote because they don’t think it’s worth their time or energy. However, there are also some cases where shareholders can legally disown their voting privileges altogether.
Investors may exercise voting rights on various matters, such as electing directors and approving mergers and acquisitions (M&As).
Voting doesn’t give you a say in everyday operations
Owning stock never gives you a say in what happens with the company. Additionally, voting is usually reserved for bigger things, like selecting new directors and setting compensation for business executives.
Voting is more about influencing the future of your company than it is about influencing day-to-day operations.
Stock is valued on anticipated future earnings
The more you expect a company to earn, its stock will be more valuable.
People who think that Company X will make more money than Company Y will pay more for shares of Company X. If a company grows its earnings over time and does particularly well one year, demand for its stock may increase even further. Investors hope those great results will continue.
If a company’s earnings growth slows down, its value will fall
As we’ve seen, the most critical factor in determining a stock’s value is its expected earnings growth. If a company’s earnings grow slowly, investors will be less likely to pay a lot of money for them.
They may even decide to sell their shares at any price because they think that the company won’t be able to generate enough profits in the future. The importance of earnings can be seen by looking at the history of stock prices over time.
Each share’s value is determined by several factors at once
Several factors determine the price of a stock.
First, it’s essential to understand that the value of a stock is not simply equal to its earnings per share (EPS). Instead, the value of a company as a whole depends on several factors, including its EPS, growth potential, and the number of outstanding shares.
The market price is also affected by other factors:
- Supply and demand affect the price of an asset
- Market sentiment can shift quickly, which may affect your ability to sell or buy at the right time
Stock presents a chance to profit from corporate success
Stock represents a company’s ownership and can be bought and sold just like any other property. But unlike real estate, cars, or even fine art, stocks are not tangible objects that can be touched; pieces of paper represent them.
Those pieces of paper’s value depend on how much people will pay for them. Of course, that depends on how highly valued the company issuing the stock is considered to be.
The value of stocks reflects anticipated future earnings by their parent companies and growth prospects for these businesses. Stock prices rise when investors expect those profits to grow faster than inflation. They fall when expectations fall short or when general economic conditions cause uncertainty.
Investing in stocks can be a gamble, and you should always research before buying.
Once you understand how stocks are valued, know the factors that affect a company’s future earnings potential, and understand what types of investments might suit your needs best—you’ll be able to invest wisely.