For hundreds of years stocks have been a popular investment. Companies issue stocks to raise capital for expansion and new projects. Each share of the stock represents a partial ownership in the company.
When the company does well and makes a profit, the value of the stocks rise. Stock owners can sell their shares for a profit, or hold on to the stock for even more gain in the future. Sometimes companies will issue dividends — part of the profits that are distributed to share holders.
Stocks are traded on stock exchanges. Most stocks are bought and sold through brokers who charge a commission or fee for this service. United States stock exchanges include the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System (NASDAQ). Most stocks are listed only on 1 exchange, although large companies may have listings on multiple exchanges.