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Definition of Share

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The minimum unit of ownership in a corporation.

Related Terms:

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.

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.

Dividends per share

Amount of cash paid to shareholders expressed as dollars per share.

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 (EPS)

EPS, as it is called, is a company's profit divided by its number of outstanding
shares. If a company earned $2 million in one year had 2 million shares of stock outstanding, its EPS would
be $1 per share. The company often uses a weighted average of shares outstanding over the reporting term.

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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 share capital

Total amount of shares that are in issue. Related: outstanding shares.

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 share capital

Issued share capital less the par value of shares that are held in the company's treasury.

Outstanding shares

shares that are currently owned 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.

Share repurchase

Program by which a corporation buys back its own shares in the open market. It is usually
done when shares are undervalued. Since it reduces the number of shares outstanding and thus increases
earnings per share, it tends to elevate the market value of the remaining shares held by stockholders.

Shareholders' equity

This is a company's total assets minus total liabilities. A company's net worth is the
same thing.

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Shareholders' letter

A section of an annual report where one can find jargon-free discussions by
management of successful and failed strategies which provides guidance for the probing of the rest of the


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

Earnings per share of common stock

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

Shareholders’ funds

The capital invested in a business by the shareholders, including retained profits.

Shareholder value

Increasing the value of the business to its shareholders, achieved through a combination of
dividend and capital growth in the value of the shares.

Authorized shares

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

Issued shares

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

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.

Shareholders' equity

The total amount of contributed capital and retained earnings; synonymous with stockholders' equity.

basic earnings per share (EPS)

This important ratio equals the net
income for a period (usually one year) divided by the number capital
stock shares issued by a business corporation. This ratio is so important
for publicly owned business corporations that it is included in the daily
stock trading tables published by the Wall Street Journal, the New York
Times, and other major newspapers. Despite being a rather straightforward
concept, there are several technical problems in calculating
earnings per share. Actually, two EPS ratios are needed for many businesses—
basic EPS, which uses the actual number of capital shares outstanding,
and diluted EPS, which takes into account additional shares of
stock that may be issued for stock options granted by a business and
other stock shares that a business is obligated to issue in the future.
Also, many businesses report not one but two net income figures—one
before extraordinary gains and losses were recorded in the period and a
second after deducting these nonrecurring gains and losses. Many business
corporations issue more than one class of capital stock, which
makes the calculation of their earnings per share even more complicated.

book value and book value per share

Generally speaking, these terms
refer to the balance sheet value of an asset (or less often of a liability) or
the balance sheet value of owners’ equity per share. Either term emphasizes
that the amount recorded in the accounts or on the books of a business
is the value being used. The total of the amounts reported for
owners’ equity in its balance sheet is divided by the number of stock
shares of a corporation to determine the book value per share of its capital

Share Image 4

diluted earnings per share (EPS)

This measure of earnings per share
recognizes additional stock shares that may be issued in the future for
stock options and as may be required by other contracts a business has
entered into, such as convertible features in its debt securities and preferred
stock. Both basic earnings per share and, if applicable, diluted
earnings per share are reported by publicly owned business corporations.
Often the two EPS figures are not far apart, but in some cases the
gap is significant. Privately owned businesses do not have to report earnings
per share. See also basic earnings per share.

earnings per share (EPS)

See basic earnings per share and diluted earnings per share.

Book Value per Share

The book value of a company divided by the number of shares

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

authorized share capital

Maximum number of shares that the company is permitted to issue, as specified in the firm’s articles of incorporation.

issued shares

shares that have been issued by the company.

outstanding shares

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

Shareholders' Equity

The residual interest or owners' claims on the assets of a corporation
that remain after deducting its liabilities.

Common Shares

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

Preferred Shares

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


Owner of one or more shares of stock in a corporation.

Shareholder's Equity

Represents the total assets of a corporation less liabilities.

DLOC (discount for lack of control)

an amount or percentage deducted from a pro rata share of the value of 100% of an equity interest in a business, to reflect the absence of some or all of the powers of control.

American Depositary Receipts (ADRs)

Certificates issued by a U.S. depositary bank, representing foreign
shares held by the bank, usually by a branch or correspondent in the country of issue. One ADR may
represent a portion of a foreign share, one share or a bundle of shares of a foreign corporation. If the ADR's
are "sponsored," the corporation provides financial information and other assistance to the bank and may
subsidize the administration of the ADRs. "Unsponsored" ADRs do not receive such assistance. ADRs carry
the same currency, political and economic risks as the underlying foreign share; the prices of the two, adjusted for the SDR/ordinary ratio, are kept essentially identical by arbitrage. American depositary shares(ADSs) are
a similar form of certification.

Annual fund operating expenses

For investment companies, the management fee and "other expenses,"
including the expenses for maintaining shareholder records, providing shareholders with financial statements,
and providing custodial and accounting services. For 12b-1 funds, selling and marketing costs are included.

Annual report

Yearly record of a publicly held company's financial condition. It includes a description of the
firm's operations, its balance sheet and income statement. SEC rules require that it be distributed to all
shareholders. A more detailed version is called a 10-K.

Antidilutive effect

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

Appraisal rights

A right of shareholders in a merger to demand the payment of a fair price for their shares, as
determined independently.


This is the quoted ask, or the lowest price an investor will accept to sell a stock. Practically speaking, this
is the quoted offer at which an investor can buy shares of stock; also called the offer price.

Attribute bias

The tendency of stocks preferred by the dividend discount model to share certain equity
attributes such as low price-earnings ratios, high dividend yield, high book-value ratio or membership in a
particular industry sector.

Back office

Brokerage house clerical operations that support, but do not include, the trading of stocks and
other securities. Includes all written confirmation and settlement of trades, record keeping and regulatory
Back-end loan fund
A mutual fund that charges investors a fee to sell (redeem) shares, often ranging from
4% to 6%. Some back-end load funds impose a full commission if the shares are redeemed within a
designated time, such as one year. The commission decreases the longer the investor holds the shares. The
formal name for the back-end load is the contingent deferred sales charge, or CDSC.

Best-efforts sale

A method of securities distribution/ underwriting in which the securities firm agrees to sell
as much of the offering as possible and return any unsold shares to the issuer. As opposed to a guaranteed or
fixed price sale, where the underwriter agrees to sell a specific number of shares (with the securities firm
holding any unsold shares in its own account if necessary).

Bid price

This is the quoted bid, or the highest price an investor is willing to pay to buy a security. Practically
speaking, this is the available price at which an investor can sell shares of stock. Related: Ask , offer.

Block trade

A large trading order, defined on the New York Stock Exchange as an order that consists of
10,000 shares of a given stock or a total market value of $200,000 or more.

Block voting

A group of shareholders banding together to vote their shares in a single block.

Buy on margin

A transaction in which an investor borrows to buy additional shares, using the shares
themselves as collateral.


Purchase of a controlling interest (or percent of shares) of a company's stock. A leveraged buy-out is
done with borrowed money.

Call option

An option contract that gives its holder the right (but not the obligation) to purchase a specified
number of shares of the underlying stock at the given strike price, on or before the expiration date of the
Call premium
Premium in price above the par value of a bond or share of preferred stock that must be paid to
holders to redeem the bond or share of preferred stock before its scheduled maturity date.

Cash cow

A company that pays out all earnings per share to stockholders as dividends. Or, a company or
division of a company that generates a steady and significant amount of free cash flow.

Cash dividend

A dividend paid in cash to a company's shareholders. The amount is normally based on
profitability and is taxable as income. A cash distribution may include capital gains and return of capital in
addition to the dividend.

Closed-end fund

An investment company that sells shares like any other corporation and usually does not
redeem its shares. A publicly traded fund sold on stock exchanges or over the counter that may trade above or
below its net asset value. Related: Open-end fund.


The fee paid to a broker to execute a trade, based on number of shares, bonds, options, and/or
their dollar value. In 1975, deregulation led to the creation of discount brokers, who charge lower
commissions than full service brokers. Full service brokers offer advice and usually have a full staff of
analysts who follow specific industries. Discount brokers simply execute a client's order -- and usually do not
offer an opinion on a stock. Also known as a round-turn.

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.

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.


Intra- or intermarket rivalry between businesses trying to obtain a larger piece of the same
market share.

Convertible price

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

Conversion ratio

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

Cost company arrangement

Arrangement whereby the shareholders of a project receive output free of
charge but agree to pay all operating and financing charges of the project.

Covered call

A short call option position in which the writer owns the number of shares of the underlying
stock represented by the option contracts. Covered calls generally limit the risk the writer takes because the
stock does not have to be bought at the market price, if the holder of that option decides to exercise it.

Cross holdings

One corporation holds shares in another firm.

Cumulative voting

A system of voting for directors of a corporation in which shareholder's total number of
votes is equal to his number of shares held times the number of candidates.

Currency risk sharing

An agreement by the parties to a transaction to share the currency risk associated with
the transaction. The arrangement involves a customized hedge contract embedded in the underlying

Debt/equity ratio

Indicator of financial leverage. Compares assets provided by creditors to assets provided
by shareholders. Determined by dividing long-term debt by common stockholder equity.

Dedicated capital

Total par value (number of shares issued, multiplied by the par value of each share). Also
called dedicated value.

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.

Detachable warrant

A warrant entitles the holder to buy a given number of shares of stock at a stipulated
price. A detachable warrant is one that may be sold separately from the package it may have originally been
issued with (usually a bond).


Diminution in the proportion of income to which each share is entitled.

Dilutive effect

Result of a transaction that decreases earnings per common share.


Payments from fund or corporate cash flow. May include dividends from earnings, capital
gains from sale of portfolio holdings and return of capital. Fund distributions can be made by check or by
investing in additional shares. Funds are required to distribute capital gains (if any) to shareholders at least
once per year. Some Corporations offer Dividend Reinvestment Plans (DRP).


A dividend is a portion of a company's profit paid to common and preferred shareholders. A stock
selling for $20 a share with an annual dividend of $1 a share yields the investor 5%.

Dividend clientele

A group of shareholders who prefer that the firm follow a particular dividend policy. For
example, such a preference is often based on comparable tax situations.

Dividend reinvestment plan (DRP)

Automatic reinvestment of shareholder dividends in more shares of a
company's stock, often without commissions. Some plans provide for the purchase of additional shares at a
discount to market price. Dividend reinvestment plans allow shareholders to accumulate stock over the Long
term using dollar cost averaging. The DRP is usually administered by the company without charges to the

Dividend rights

A shareholders' rights to receive per-share dividends identical to those other shareholders receive.

Dividend yield (Funds)

Indicated yield represents return on a share of a mutual fund held over the past 12
months. Assumes fund was purchased 1 year ago. Reflects effect of sales charges (at current rates), but not
redemption charges.

Dow Jones industrial average

This is the best known U.S.index of stocks. It contains 30 stocks that trade on
the New York Stock Exchange. The Dow, as it is called, is a barometer of how shares of the largest
U.S.companies are performing. There are thousands of investment indexes around the world for stocks,
bonds, currencies and commodities.

Earnings yield

The ratio of earnings per share after allowing for tax and interest payments on fixed interest
debt, to the current share price. The inverse of the price/earnings ratio. It's the Total Twelve Months earnings
divided by number of outstanding shares, divided by the recent price, multiplied by 100. The end result is
shown in percentage.

Effective spread

The gross underwriting spread adjusted for the impact of the announcement of the common
stock offering on the firm's share price.

Efficient capital market

A market in which new information is very quickly reflected accurately in share

Employee stock fund

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

Equity claim

Also called a residual claim, a claim to a share of earnings after debt obligation have been

Equity options

Securities that give the holder the right to buy or sell a specified number of shares of stock, at
a specified price for a certain (limited) time period. Typically one option equals 100 shares of stock.


Those holding shares of the firm's equity.


The marketplace in which shares, options and futures on stocks, bonds, commodities and indices
are traded. Principal US stock exchanges are: New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), American Stock Exchange
(AMEX) and the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASDAQ)

Exchange of stock

Acquisition of another company by purchase of its stock in exchange for cash or shares.

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.

Expense ratio

The percentage of the assets that were spent to run a mutual fund (as of the last annual
statement). This includes expenses such as management and advisory fees, overhead costs and 12b-1
(distribution and advertising ) fees. The expense ratio does not include brokerage costs for trading the
portfolio, although these are reported as a percentage of assets to the SEC by the funds in a Statement of
Additional Information (SAI). the SAI is available to shareholders on request. Neither the expense ratio or the
SAI includes the transaction costs of spreads, normally incurred in unlisted securities and foreign stocks.
These two costs can add significantly to the reported expenses of a fund. The expense ratio is often termed an
Operating Expense Ratio (OER).


This literally means "without dividend." The buyer of shares when they are quoted ex-dividend
is not entitled to receive a declared dividend.


In connection with a rights offering, shares of stock that are trading without the rights attached.

Ex-rights date

The date on which a share of common stock begins trading ex-rights.

Firm commitment underwriting

An undewriting in which an investment banking firm commits to buy the
entire issue and assumes all financial responsibility for any unsold shares.

Fixed-price tender offer

A one-time offer to purchase a stated number of shares at a stated fixed price,
usually a premium to the current market price.







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