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When you own common stock, your shares represent ownership in the corporation and give you the right to vote for the company's board of directors and benefit from its financial success.
You may receive a portion of the company's profits as dividend payments if the board of directors declares a dividend. You also have the right to sell your stock and realize a capital gain if the share value increases.
But if the company falters and the price falls, your investment could lose some of or all its value.