In a very basic sense, stock is purchased for the ownership of a company. Its price grows on the market following supply and demand, and as such the price of a single share may rise as the value of a company rises and more people want to buy that share than those willing to sell.
But why is the portion of a company granted by that share worth less than what it’s paid for?
Suppose a company has a book value of $180M and has 100M shares outstanding on the market for $5. Its market cap, which encompasses its intangibles and growth potential is nearly 3x as much as its book value, signaling the market believes the company is and will continue to do well (in theory).
Now since a share indicates owning a portion of the company, a single share in this company is worth 0.00000001%, or if the company liquidated its assets today, $1.8; so why would somebody want to buy a share of a company for more than what that share is worth? Is the delta between its intrinsic value and the market value the “mark up” for the current shareholder to earn for giving their position away?
This brings up the question, if you exclude capital appreciation from the equation, if the share price on the market is more than the intrinsic value it loses at purchase, the hope would be that over time the value of the company grows such that the share's intrinsic value eventually exceeds what you paid for it, right?
So in the event a company closes shop, I may not recoup my entire investment but I would at least get something, so I suppose the mark up was for the potential the company had?