A unit of ownership that represents an equal proportion of a company's capital. It entitles its holder (the shareholder) to an equal claim on the company's profits and an equal obligation for the company's debts and losses.
Two major types of shares are (1) ordinary shares (common stock), which entitle the shareholder to share in the earnings of the company as and when they occur, and to vote at the company's annual general meetings and other official meetings, and (2) preference shares (preferred stock) which entitle the shareholder to a fixed periodic income (interest) but generally do not give him or her voting rights. See also stock.
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