Stocks are a type of security that gives stockholders a share of ownership in a company. Stocks also are called “equities.”
Stocks offer investors the greatest potential for growth (capital appreciation) over the long haul. Investors willing to stick with stocks over long periods of time, say 15 years, generally have been rewarded with strong, positive returns.
Market fluctuations can be unnerving to some investors. A stock’s price can be affected by factors inside the company, such as a faulty product, or by events the company has no control over, such as political or market events.
Stocks usually are one part of an investor’s holdings. If you are young and saving for a long-term goal such as retirement, you may want to hold more stocks than bonds. Investors nearing or in retirement may want to hold more bonds than stocks.
The risks of stock holdings can be offset in part by investing in a number of different stocks. Investing in other kinds of assets that are not stocks, such as bonds, is another way to offset some of the risks of owning stocks.