Financial Terms
Common Shares

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Definition of Common Shares

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Common Shares

Are equity instruments that take no security against assets, have no fixed terms of repayment and pay no fixed dividends.

Related Terms:

Book value per share

The ratio of stockholder equity to the average number of common shares. Book value
per share should not be thought of as an indicator of economic worth, since it reflects accounting valuation
(and not necessarily market valuation).

Cash flow per common share

Cash flow from operations minus preferred stock dividends, divided by the
number of common shares outstanding.

Common stock

These are securities that represent equity ownership in a company. common shares let an
investor vote on such matters as the election of directors. They also give the holder a share in a company's
profits via dividend payments or the capital appreciation of the security.

Common stock/other equity

Value of outstanding common shares at par, plus accumulated retained
earnings. Also called shareholders' equity.


Securities (generally bonds or preferred shares) that are exchangeable at the option of the holder for common shares of the issuing firm.

Dividends per share

Dividends paid for the past 12 months divided by the number of common shares
outstanding, as reported by a company. The number of shares often is determined by a weighted average of
shares outstanding over the reporting term.

Earnings per Share

A measure of the earnings generated by a company on a per
share basis. It is calculated by dividing income available for
distribution to shareholders by the number of common shares

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Market to Book Ratio

Measure of the book value of a company on a per share basis. It is
calculated by dividing the book value of the company by the
number of common shares outstanding.

Price/earnings ratio (PE ratio)

Shows the "multiple" of earnings at which a stock sells. Determined by dividing current
stock price by current earnings per share (adjusted for stock splits). Earnings per share for the P/E ratio is
determined by dividing earnings for past 12 months by the number of common shares outstanding. Higher
"multiple" means investors have higher expectations for future growth, and have bid up the stock's price.

American shares

Securities certificates issued in the U.S. by a transfer agent acting on behalf of the foreign
issuer. The certificates represent claims to foreign equities.

Authorized shares

Number of shares authorized for issuance by a firm's corporate charter.

Authorized shares

The number of shares of stock that the company is legally authorized to sell.


The theoretical amount per share that each stockholder would receive if a company’s assets were sold on the balance sheet’s date. Book value equals:
(Stockholders’ equity) / (common stock shares outstanding)

Common-base-year analysis

The representing of accounting information over multiple years as percentages
of amounts in an initial year.
common-size analysis The representing of balance sheet items as percentages of assets and of income
statement items as percentages of sales.

common body of knowledge (CBK)

the minimum set of knowledge needed by a person to function effectively in a particular field

Common market

An agreement between two or more countries that permits the free movement of capital
and labor as well as goods and services.

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common-size balance sheet

Balance sheet that presents items as a percentage of total assets.

common-size income statement

Income statement that presents items as a percentage of revenues.

Common stock

shares of ownership sold to the public.

Common Stock

A financial security that represents an ownership claim on the
assets and earnings of a company. This claim is valid after the
claims of the debt providers and preferred stockholders have been

common stock

Ownership shares in a publicly held corporation.

Common Stock

That part of the capital stock of a corporation that carries voting rights and represents
the last claim on assets and dividends.

Common stock equivalent

A convertible security that is traded like an equity issue because the optioned
common stock is trading high.

Common stock market

The market for trading equities, not including preferred stock.

Common stock ratios

Ratios that are designed to measure the relative claims of stockholders to earnings
(cash flow per share), and equity (book value per share) of a firm.

Cost of Common Stock

The rate of return required by the investors in the common stock of
the company. A component of the cost of capital.

Earnings per share of common stock

How much profit a company made on each share of common stock this year.

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Fully diluted earnings per shares

Earnings per share expressed as if all outstanding convertible securities
and warrants have been exercised.

Issued shares

The number of shares that the company has sold to the public.

issued shares

shares that have been issued by the company.

Management/closely held shares

Percentage of shares held by persons closely related to a company, as
defined by the Securities and exchange commission. Part of these percentages often is included in
Institutional Holdings -- making the combined total of these percentages over 100. There is overlap as
institutions sometimes acquire enough stock to be considered by the SEC to be closely allied to the company.

Outstanding shares

shares that are currently owned by investors.

Outstanding shares

The number of shares that are in the hands of the public. The difference between issued shares and outstanding shares is the shares held as treasury stock.

outstanding shares

shares that have been issued by the company and are held by investors.

Performance shares

shares of stock given to managers on the basis of performance as measured by earnings
per share and similar criteria. A control device used by shareholders to tie management to the self-interest of

Preferred shares

Preferred shares give investors a fixed dividend from the company's earnings. And more
importantly: preferred shareholders get paid before common shareholders. See: preferred stock.

Preferred Shares

Are equity instruments that take no security against assets, have flexible terms of repayment and pay fixed or floating dividends.

Return on Common Equity Ratio

A measure of the percentage return earned on the value of the
common equity invested in the company. It is calculated by
dividing the net income available for distribution to shareholders
by the book value of the common equity.


Certificates or book entries representing ownership in a corporation or similar entity

Antidilutive effect

Result of a transaction that increases earnings per common share (e.g. by decreasing the
number of shares outstanding).

capital stock

Ownership shares issued by a business corporation. A business
corporation may issue more than one class of capital stock shares.
One class may give voting privileges in the election of the directors of the
corporation while the other class does not. One class (called preferred
stock) may entitle a certain amount of dividends per share before cash
dividends can be paid on the other class (usually called common stock).
Stock shares may have a minimum value at which they have to be issued
(called the par value), or stock shares can be issued for any amount
(called no-par stock). Stock shares may be traded on public markets such
as the New York Stock Exchange or over the Nasdaq network. There are
about 10,000 stocks traded on public markets (although estimates vary
on this number). In this regard, I find it very interesting that there are
more than 8,000 mutual funds that invest in stocks.

Conversion ratio

The number of shares of common stock that the security holder will receive from
exercising the call option of a convertible security.

Convertible Debenture

Are debt instruments that are convertible into common or preferred shares, take secondary or no security against assets, have flexible terms of repayment and charge fixed or floating interest rates.

Convertible price

The contractually specified price per share at which a convertible security can be
converted into shares of common stock.

Deferred equity

A common term for convertible bonds because of their equity component and the
expectation that the bond will ultimately be converted into shares of common stock.

Employee stock fund

A firm-sponsored program that enables employees to purchase shares of the firm's
common stock on a preferential basis.


The net worth of a company. This represents the ownership interest of the shareholders (common and preferred) of a company. For this reason, shares or stocks are often known as equities.

Exchange offer

An offer by the firm to give one security, such as a bond or preferred stock, in exchange for
another security, such as shares of common stock.

income funds

Mutual funds that seek regular income. This type of fund invests primarily in government, corporate and other types of bonds, debt securities, and other income producing securities and in certain circumstances can also hold common and preferred shares.

Net Worth

The difference between the total assets and total liabilities of a company. Note: The value of the preferred shares is deducted from the net worth because the preferred's are usually redeemed before any value is paid to the common shareholders.

Preferred stock

A security that shows ownership in a corporation and gives the holder a claim, prior to the
claim of common stockholders, on earnings and also generally on assets in the event of liquidation. Most
preferred stock pays a fixed dividend that is paid prior to the common stock dividend, stated in a dollar
amount or as a percentage of par value. This stock does not usually carry voting rights. The stock shares
characteristics of both common stock and debt.

Rights offering

Issuance of "rights" to current shareholders allowing them to purchase additional shares,
usually at a discount to market price. Shareholders who do not exercise these rights are usually diluted by the
offering. Rights are often transferable, allowing the holder to sell them on the open market to others who may
wish to exercise them. Rights offerings are particularly common to closed end funds, which cannot otherwise
issue additional common stock.


Options: All option contracts of the same class that also have the same unit of trade, expiration date,
and exercise price. Stocks: shares which have common characteristics, such as rights to ownership and voting,
dividends, par value, etc. In the case of many foreign shares, one series may be owned only by citizens of the
country in which the stock is registered.

stock option

a right allowing the holder to purchase shares of common stock during some future time frame and at a specified price

Stock option

A right to purchase a specific maximum number of shares at a specific
price no later than a specific date. It is a commonly used form of incentive compensation.

Stock repurchase

A firm's repurchase of outstanding shares of its common stock.

Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC)

A weighted average of the component costs of debt, preferred shares, and common equity. Also called the composite cost of capital.







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