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A stock is the share in the ownership of a corporation. Commonly the ownership of a corporation is divided into shares of a definite value, like 10 dollars per share. The charter of the company will define how many shares and classes of shares will be issued. There are two main classes of stocks that exist: common stock and preferred stock. There are differences in whether the stockholder can vote or not, if the stock is redeemable or not, convertible or not, as well as preference in liquidation.

When a public company files a registration statement (the most common registration statement is the Form S-1, most often filed as part of an initial public offering) with the SEC and lists to any stock exchanges, like the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations (NASDAQ), the stock of the company is then considered listed and can be accessed by the public on the public market.

[Last updated in March of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]