A stock certificate is a record of information about the outstanding stock of a company. It provides basic information such as the name of the company, the date of issue and the list of stocks owned by the company. It does not represent ownership rights. Instead it represents ownership interest. A stock certificate is issued from a public company and may be traded on an exchange.
A stock certificate provides information necessary to perform the act of buying and selling securities on an exchange such as the New York Stock Exchange or the NASDAQ. The certificates generally list stocks that have been listed for sale under the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission. There is a list of securities that have been authorized for trading on stock exchanges by the SEC or the NASDAQ. An individual can buy and sell these stocks either directly or through a broker through a registered brokerage. The records that provide the list of stocks are maintained by the companies themselves or by authorized representatives.
There are private sales of stocks through brokers. In recent years, many private shareholders have begun buying stocks through brokers and selling them to other investors. These investors are not subject to the same filing and regulatory requirements of institutional investors when buying and selling stocks through brokers.
Stocks can also be traded on futures exchanges such as the New York Mercantile Exchange or the Chicago Board of Trade. When securities are traded on these exchanges they represent stocks that have already been issued and are available for purchase by individuals or corporations. When they are purchased they are usually valued less than the total of the initial cash payments that would have been made if they had been sold in the open market. These exchanges guarantee that no other entity can purchase the stocks for the duration of time they are held in the market.
A stock exchange allows an investor to buy shares of ownership at a specific price and for a specified length of time. This is usually done on a stock exchange floor where all securities are available for sale. When the investor wants to make a purchase he passes a put option to the broker who then sells the shares of ownership at the strike price to the buyer. When this option is exercised the buyer will buy the stocks at the current market price and give the broker the right to sell the stocks at the future market price.
Preferred stocks can also be purchased through a stock market broker. When an investor purchases preferred stocks the broker will give the investor a call option to purchase these stocks. If the investor exercises the option the broker will then give him or her a put option to sell the stocks at a specified price. If the shares of ownership are sold before the call option expires the put option will become worthless. The call option is known as a naked call.