Stocks are usually in the form of common shares or preferred shares. Stocks or shares represent ownership in a business. There can be different classes of shares each offering investors with different values and privileges. Common shares usually have voting rights while preferred shares do not. Preferred shares usually provide dividend payments to investors and these dividend payments are paid to preferred share owners prior to any dividends being paid to common share owners. In addition to regular common and preferred shares, convertible preferred shares are also available. Convertible preferred shares provide investor or owners with the option to convert preferred shares into a fixed amount of common shares. In most cases, this conversion has to be completed after a predetermined date or period.

Buying and selling stock can be accomplished through licensed dealers and advisors. Full service investment brokerage firms can provide advice and recommendations, while in most cases, discount brokerage companies simply execute stock transactions for investors. Professional money managers and portfolio managers will also provide advice and access to individual stocks and bonds in most cases.

Stocks fluctuate in value and are not guaranteed. Investors should be well aware of the risks associated with investing in stocks and other investments including mutual funds, segregated funds and all other securities.

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