Stocks are an equity investment that represents part ownership in a corporation and entitles you to part of that corporation's earnings and assets.
Common stock gives shareholders voting rights but no guarantee of dividend payments. Preferred stocks provides no voting rights but usually guarantees a dividend payment.
In the past, shareholders received a paper stock certificate -- called a security -- verifying the number of shares they owned. Today, share ownership is usually recorded electronically, and the shares are held in street name by your brokerage firm.
Read more about stocks in the articles below: