Investing in Stocks


Whether you are looking for a way to grow your savings or simply want to have an ownership interest in a corporation, buying a stock is a great option. Buying shares gives you a portion of the profits of the world’s most successful companies. Unlike bonds, stocks have historically been one of the highest-performing investments for the long term. However, prices can fluctuate and may not be a good choice for every investor.

There are several factors that determine the value of a stock. Price fluctuations are influenced by the theory of supply and demand. When sellers outnumber buyers, the price of the stock falls. On the other hand, when more buyers come into the market, the price of the stock rises.

Companies issue different classes of stock to allow different groups of investors to have a voice in the company. The amount of voting rights you have on a particular class of stock depends on the company’s policies. Some companies limit direct stock plans to employees and existing shareholders, while others allow them to be used by anyone. Other companies require minimum account levels or fees for stock transactions.

Some types of stocks do not pay dividends. The dividends are paid from the company’s retained earnings and represent a percentage of the company’s net income for the current year. If the company goes bankrupt, the shareholders who own preferred stocks are usually the first to receive their money back, whereas the common stock holders are in the line to receive payments once the bankruptcy is settled. Some companies also issue special dividends, which are paid when the price of the stock rises.

In addition to paying dividends, some companies also buy back their own stock. This allows shareholders to recoup their investment plus the capital gains that are derived from subsequent increases in the price of the stock. Some companies allow direct stock transactions and avoid the high commissions and fees associated with the public stock exchanges.

Some large companies also list their shares on foreign exchanges. A company’s size is typically shown by its market capitalization. The market capitalization is the total value of all of its outstanding shares. Buying stocks can help you build a diversified portfolio and achieve long-term financial goals. The S&P 500 is the most widely used index for stock performance in the U.S., and it has delivered an average annual rate of return of 7% since 1959. It has outperformed the Barclay’s U.S. Aggregate Bond Index over the same time period.

Many investors like to buy stocks for the potential of a high rate of return. A stock’s market value is affected by a number of factors, including the company’s business outlook, analyst forecasts, and overall market conditions. It is wise to diversify your investments and avoid making highly concentrated positions in a few stocks. A well-diversified portfolio can help you earn returns that are greater than those offered by bonds and other fixed income investments.