Name-Calling At The Stock Market


After so many years, most groups (businesses, professions, affiliations, etc.) usually tend to develop their own character – in their specializations, language (names and terms of things in their group) and in many other aspects. The stock market is no exception because it, too, has its own distinctive jargon and names.

For the layman, the following is a short list of stock types and what they actually are.

Stocks

Stocks are certificates indicating a person’s part-time ownership of the company that issued them. In turn, stocks are broken into different categories.

Common stocks are the usual type sold and owned by most people. On paper, one stock has one voting right. (Usually, this is mainly for voting in the company’s officers.)

Common stocks are also the riskiest. If the company gets bankrupt (and is liquidated), holders of common shares of stock will be the last to be paid. The creditors, the bondholders and the preferred shareholders (in that order) are paid first.

However, common stocks are the highest-yielding in the long run.

Preferred stocks

Preferred stocks are those without voting rights but are guaranteed a fixed dividend payment. Their owners are paid ahead of common shareholders, although common stocks sometimes have bigger dividends. (This, however, is dependent on the company officers’ decisions and the company’s fortunes for that given year.)

These stocks are also “callable”, meaning the company has the option to buy them back from their holders.

Classes of stocks

Sometimes, companies customize different classes of stocks. Mostly, these are shares of stocks with different voting rights. The reasons are varied, but the company sometimes wants the voting power in the hands of certain groups, usually in clique with the owners.

An example would be the shares for the select group are entitled with ten votes per share, while the second class of investors would have their issued shares enjoying only one vote per share. (The usual designations for these stocks are class A or class B shares.)

Dividends

Dividends are the payouts the company pays to stockholders as profit earnings to the stocks they own. As had been pointed out, dividend payouts are not dependent on the company’s good or bad performance for a given year.

Rather, they are determined by the company’s policies and objectives.

Blue chip

These are the highest-valued companies (GE, IBM, Wal-Mart and others) in the stock market. Their stocks are generally expensive but are usually safe in both good times and bad.

The term blue chip came from poker where the blue chips are assigned the highest values.

Penny stock

The term is used to denote those stocks that trade for less than a dollar. These are stocks that are generally new in the market, with no history or reputation to back them up.

Lately, penny stocks refer to stocks that are considered very speculative. They present the prospects of large gains or large losses as well.

More names

Actually, in the stock market business, there are more items that have names unique to the industry. The above-mentioned names are only some of the more familiar ones.

Also, some of these names are not really permanent. Stocks that were once speculative may become blue chip, and cyclical and non-cyclical stocks sometimes interchange. Like the others, the stock market is also evolving daily.

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