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Lets say I buy a share of Apple stock. When you talk about stock, you say you are buying a small amount of the company. How small would 1 share of apple stock be at the moment you are answering the question?

21

What percent of a company are you buying when you purchase stock?

The percent of a company represented by a single share can be calculated by

percent = 1/number_of_shares*100%

Apple comprises 5,250,000,000 shares, so one share makes up about 1.9e-8% of a company, or 0.000000019% of Apple.

  • 3
    At today's $137 price, that's a $717bn market-capitalization. That's insane! – Dai Feb 24 '17 at 22:12
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    @Dai - If you want to see true insanity, have a look at Twitter's share price, bearing in mind that in the last ten years, they've made about as much profit as a fly tackle shop and spent investor's money like it's going out of fashion. – Valorum Feb 25 '17 at 1:10
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    AAPL P/E is 16.4 vs S&P 26.5. The $717B is meaningless in that light. Their sales and profit justify the $700B+ cap. – JoeTaxpayer Feb 25 '17 at 16:26
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    @curious_cat Google the company name or ticker symbol. There are several sites which display this kind of information. I got it from Google Finance. The value is next to the "Shares" label. – Nosrac Feb 25 '17 at 16:49
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    @user662852 That's a good question. The Google site does not specify if the number is total outstanding shares or total issued shares (which would include treasury shares). Yahoo's page, however, does specify that it is just outstanding shares – Nosrac Feb 27 '17 at 23:48
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As you can see at https://www.google.com/finance?q=NASDAQ%3AAAPL the number of apple shares at this very moment is 5.25B, so if you have 1 share you own 1 / 5.25B of the company.

  • 29
    Nitpick: You can say that you own 1/5.25B of the company, or that you own 100/5.25B % of the company. To immediately see the problem with the statement 1/5.25B % consider the case when you own all 5.25B. Then you own 5.25B/5.25B=1% of the company. – Cruncher Feb 24 '17 at 22:33
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Your question has already been answered, you divide the amount of shares you own * 100% by the total amount of shares. However, I feel it is somewhat misleading to talk about owning a percentage of the company by owning shares. Strictly speaking, shares do not entitle you to a part of the company but instead give you a proportional amount of votes at shareholder meetings (assuming no funky share classes).

What this means is that someone who owns 30% of a company's shares can't just grab 30% of the company's assets (factories, offices and whatever) and say that they are entitled to own this. What they actually own is 30% of the voting rights in this company, this means that they control 30% of all available votes when the company calls a vote on corporate actions, choosing a new director etc. which is how shareholders exert their influence on a company.

  • 3
    That is technically wrong. If the shareholders would liquidate the company or in case of a buyxout, you are netitled of your share of the value - because you DO own it. If you are 50% owner of a house, you also can not just "grab half of it". Co-Ownership rarely means you ahve a right to take your part (or even an identifyable part). – TomTom Feb 25 '17 at 16:10
  • @TomTom Yeah I simplified it a bit too much perhaps but explaining the exact standing of shareholders is surprisingly difficult but shareholders do NOT own any portion of the company assets. Liquidation is the one odd case in which shareholders have a (last in line) claim to the proceeds of an asset sale after all debtors have been paid. Shareholders have no claim to proceeds from any other kind of asset sale (though shareholder friendly management can still pay that out as dividend). You might wanna check out (should be readable) ft.com/content/7bd1b20a-879b-11e5-90de-f44762bf9896 – Koen vd H Feb 25 '17 at 17:03
  • I think you're trying to explain something that you do not fully understand. You're close, but not correct. What you're trying to explain is the segregation of the business assets from the owners' control and liabilities. It's no different than owning 100% of an LLC. Your ownership doesn't entitle you to pay your mortgage with business assets, but that doesn't mean you don't own 100% of the company. Your ownership in a public company is just very small. – quid Feb 27 '17 at 19:13
  • @quid I agree that someone who controls an LLC entirely is an owner. But in my opinion the diffusion of corporate control among the board of directors, upper management and shareholders for public companies make it misleading for new investors to call shareholders "owners". The one time I would call someone an owner in a public company would be if a CEO also owned a huge portion of (voting) shares and was chairman of the board (see Buffett). – Koen vd H Mar 1 '17 at 10:58
  • I'm not debating in any way who owns the LLC in my example. Human owns 100% of corporation, corporation owns desks and computers and inventory. Human's ownership of corporation does not entitle human to remove inventory from corporation. Ownership structure exists like this to isolate business finances from personal finances. An owner of corporation's bankruptcy cannot force sale of corporation's assets. And a debt default of corporation does not fall to the owner. This is on purpose, regardless of how many owners there are. – quid Mar 1 '17 at 17:30

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