What Are Common Stocks?
Common stock is a way for individuals to own a portion of a publicly traded company. It is referred to as “common” to differentiate it from preferred stock. This is significant in case of a bankruptcy, as common stock is paid out last, after preferred stock holders, bondholders and creditors. Common stockholders have voting rights unlike preferred stockholders. There is no set schedule for dividend payment to common stockholders. Common stock can move up and down sharply over time and returns vary greatly. Generally, common stock carries much more risk than preferred stock but returns can be greater if market conditions and the companies performance excel.
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