In common usage, ‘shares’ are the same as ‘stocks’, and refer to share certificates that denote partial ownership of a company. Investors in shares (or equity) hope to gain from rises in the overall value of a company, thereby increasing the re-sale value of each share. They are also entitled to a claim on part of the company’s profit, which is paid out as a ‘dividend’ at regular intervals. Many (though not all) shares also carry voting rights at the company’s annual general meeting.

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