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What Is Buying Shares ((FULL))



Your online brokerage of choice might also ask if you want to open a margin account. With a margin account, the brokerage lends you money to buy stock. This lets experienced investors buy more shares of stock with less of their own money in exchange for some additional costs and much more risk.




what is buying shares



Direct purchase plans are almost always administered by third parties, rather than the companies themselves. The two most common direct purchase plan administrators are ComputerShare and American Stock Transfer & Trust Company (AST). Both firms charge additional fees for direct purchase plans. In contrast, most online brokers charge zero commissions to buy and sell shares of stock.


There are thousands of different publicly traded companies offering shares of stock on the market. That makes it daunting to decide which stocks to buy. One way to think about researching the stocks you want to buy is to adopt a well-thought out strategy, like buying growth stocks or buying a portfolio of dividend stocks.


With a stock screener, you can filter for small-cap stocks or large-cap stocks or view lists of companies with declining share prices and stocks that are at all-time highs. They also generally let you search for stocks by industry or market sector. Filtering by P/E ratio is a great way to find shares that are overpriced or underpriced.


If you do decide to give your broker the sell order, be sure you understand the tax consequences first. If the stock price has gone up since when you first bought it, you may have to pay capital gains taxes. Gains on shares you owned for a year or less are subject to the higher ordinary income tax rate, up to 37%, depending on your income. Shares sold after more than a year get taxed at the lower long-term capital gains rate of 0% to 20% in 2020.


Share buybacks enable companies to generate additional shareholder value. Under regular market conditions, the portion of profits that a company uses to buy back shares has a positive effect on the share price.


The biggest risk from buying on margin is that you can lose much more money than you initially invested. A decline of 50 percent or more from stocks that were half-funded using borrowed funds, equates to a loss of 100 percent or more in your portfolio, plus interest and commissions.


1. Dividends. When companies are profitable, they can choose to distribute some of those earnings to shareholders by paying a dividend. You can either take the dividends in cash or reinvest them to purchase more shares in the company. Investors seeking predictable income may turn to stocks that pay dividends. Stocks that pay a higher-than-average dividend are called "income stocks."


2. Capital gains. Stocks are bought and sold constantly throughout each trading day, and their prices change all the time. When the price of a stock increases enough to recoup any trading fees, you can sell your shares at a profit. These profits are known as capital gains. In contrast, if you sell your stock for a lower price than you paid to buy it, you'll incur a capital loss.


For many companies that have dual share classes, one share class might trade publicly while the other does not. Nontraded shares are generally reserved for company founders or current management. There are often restrictions on selling these shares, and they tend to have what's known as super voting power. This makes it possible for a group of shareholders to own less than half of the total shares of a company but control the outcome of issues put to a shareholder vote, such as a decision to sell the company.


You'll frequently hear companies referred to as large-cap, mid-cap or small-cap. These descriptors refer to market capitalization, also known as market cap and sometimes shortened to just capitalization. Market cap is one measure of a company's size. More specifically, it's the dollar value of the company, calculated by multiplying the number of outstanding shares by the current market price.


Defensive stocks are in industries that offer products and services that people need, regardless of how well the overall economy is doing. For example, most people, even in hard times, will continue filling their medical prescriptions, using electricity and buying groceries. The continuing demand for these necessities can keep certain industries strong even during a weak economic cycle.


When you buy stocks on margin, you borrow part of the cost of the investment from your brokerage firm in the hopes of increasing your potential returns, which can magnify both your gains and your losses. For this reason, it's important to understand how margin accounts work and the risks associated with buying stocks and other securities on margin. Learn more about margin accounts.


Short selling is a way to profit from a price drop in a company's stock and, like buying on margin, tends to be a short-term trading strategy. It involves more risk than just buying a stock. To sell a stock short, you borrow shares from your brokerage firm and sell them at their current market price. If that price falls, as you expect it to, you buy an equal number of shares at a new, lower price to return to the firm. If the price has dropped enough to offset transaction fees and the interest you paid on the borrowed shares, you may pocket a profit.


This is a risky strategy, however, because you must still re-buy the shares and return them to your firm. If you must re-buy the shares at a price that's the same as or higher than the price at which you sold the borrowed shares, after accounting for transaction costs and interest, you'll lose money. And generally, the longer you wait to purchase shares, the more you will be paying in interest to your brokerage firm.


Because short selling is, in essence, the sale of stocks you don't own, there are strict margin requirements associated with this strategy, and you must set up a margin account to conduct these transactions. The margin money is used as collateral for the short sale, helping to ensure that the borrowed shares will be returned to the lender down the road.


For example, let's say a stock is trading at $50 a share. You borrow 100 shares and sell them for $5,000. The price suddenly declines to $25 a share, at which point you purchase 100 shares to replace those you borrowed, netting $2,500.


(Also worth noting: Your brokerage will have to have a "locate" for the security you're targeting before you can do a short sale. This is a regulatory requirement aimed at preventing "naked shorting," which is when a trader attempts a short sale without actually taking delivery of the borrowed shares. The rule says your brokerage must have a reasonable belief the security can be borrowed and delivered on a specific date before you can short it. Shorting in such a situation could lead to your position being closed by your brokerage, potentially resulting in significant losses or costs.)


1. Potentially limitless losses: When you buy shares of stock (take a long position), your downside is limited to 100% of the money you invested. But when you short a stock, its price can keep rising. In theory, that means there's no upper limit to the amount you'd have to pay to replace the borrowed shares.


(Schwab clients with StreetSmart Edge can see both borrowing rates and availability for particular shares by adding them to their watch lists. Just click on the "Actions" drop-down menu and click "Columns & Settings." Under "Company Info" check the "Short Sell Borrowing Rate" and "Short Sell Availability" boxes.)


3. Dividend Payments. Short sellers aren't entitled to dividend payments from the shares they've borrowed. In fact, the value of any dividends paid will be deducted from short-seller's account on the pay date and delivered to the stock's owner. Some short sellers choose to close their short positions before the stock's ex-dividend date to avoid having to pay. (As a reminder, the ex-dividend date is the first day a stock's price no longer includes the value of a declared dividend. That's because the value of the next dividend payment is owed to the stock's owner.)


Any purchase of securities on margin requires providing a deposit equal to part of the purchase price. There is no need to ask for an advance in purchasing shares. The investor merely has to deposit the sum required to cover the margin requirement. The investor may then decide whether to buy on margin, in whole or in part, or whether to pay the total purchase cost. It should be noted, however, that the margin can be used only if there is liquidity in the account.


In Canada and the United States, shares trading above $3.00 are generally eligible for a loan value of 50% of market value. In general, most shares trading above $5.00 and that qualify for options are eligible for a loan value of - 70%.


Some stocks fail to meet eligibility criteria and provide no right to credit or loan value. This applies in particular to any shares trading at less than $3.00 and to all shares listed on the CDNX in Canada or on the Pink Sheet or OTC BB markets in the United States.


Let's say you deposit $10,000 in your margin account. Because you put up 50% of the purchase price (for a stock trading above $3 but is not option eligible), this means you have $20,000 worth of buying power. Then, if you buy $5,000 worth of this stock, you still have $15,000 in buying power remaining. You have enough cash to cover this transaction and thus haven't tapped into your margin. You start borrowing the money only when you buy securities worth over $10,000.


This brings us to an important point: the buying power of a margin account changes daily depending on the price movement of the marginable securities in the account. Later in the tutorial, we'll go over what happens when securities rise or fall.


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