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Related to equity security: Debt security
A portion of ownership in a corporation. The holder of a stock is entitled to the company's earnings and is responsible for its risk for the portion of the company that each stock represents. There are two main classes of stock: common stock and preferred stock. Common stock holders have the right to vote on major company decisions, such as whether or not to merge with another corporation, and receive dividends determined by management. Preferred stock holders do not usually have voting rights, but receive a minimum dividend. Stock may be bought or sold, usually, though not always, in the context of a securities exchange. It is important to note that a single share of a stock usually represents only a tiny amount of ownership, and, therefore, most stocks are traded in batches of 100.