What Is Common Stock?

Common stock allows for big returns – but owning it also comes with risk. Here, we look at what common stock is and dive into its pros and cons.

common stock certificate
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Most references to "stocks" refer to common stocks. But those new to investing might be wondering "what is common stock?". 

Common stock is a type of security that gives you partial ownership in a corporation. As an owner of the corporation, you have certain rights and benefits.

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Will Ashworth
Contributing Writer, Kiplinger.com

Will has written professionally for investment and finance publications in both the U.S. and Canada since 2004. A native of Toronto, Canada, his sole objective is to help people become better and more informed investors. Fascinated by how companies make money, he's a keen student of business history. Married and now living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, he's also got an interest in equity and debt crowdfunding.