The number of shares of a publicly-traded company available to trade. It is important to note that this may be different from the shares outstanding: some shareholders may buy and hold, reducing the size of the float. The size of a floating supply greatly affects a stock's volatility. If it is small, any number of activities could affect greatly its price, especially a single large order to buy or sell it. This would greatly alter the number of shares available to trade, creating too little or too much supply and, therefore, drive the price up or down. A large floating supply tends to have less volatility because large orders do not affect the supply as much. It is also called a float. See also: Technical condition of a market.