What Are Equity Shares: Understanding the Basics in 3 Minutes

If you’re curious about investing in the stock market or want to understand how ownership in a company works, then equity shares are a great place to start. Equity shares, also known as ordinary shares, are the most common type of shares that companies offer to investors. In this article, we will dive deeper into the world of equity shares, exploring their definition, benefits, valuation methods, comparison to preference shares, different types available, the role of dividends, factors affecting their value, how to invest, common misconceptions, tips for successful investing, and more. Let’s embark on this journey to unravel the wonders of equity shares!

What are Equity Shares?

Equity Shares
Equity Shares

Equity shares in a company represent the ownership or stake that individuals have in the company. These shares are sold in the stock market, and their prices can go up or down depending on how much people are willing to buy or sell them.

Let’s take an example to understand how equity shares work. Imagine you decide to invest in Company XYZ. You buy 100 shares of their stock for $10 each, which means you spend a total of $1,000.

If Company XYZ makes a profit of $1 for each share you own, you would receive a dividend payment of $100. Dividends are a portion of the profits that companies distribute to their shareholders.

Now, let’s say the stock price of Company XYZ goes up to $12 per share. This means the value of your investment would increase to $1,200. If you decide to sell your shares at this price, you would earn a capital gain of $200. Capital gain is the profit you make when you sell an asset (in this case, your shares) at a higher price than what you paid for them.

In summary, equity shares give you ownership in a company and the potential to receive dividends and make capital gains. The value of your investment can increase or decrease based on how well the company performs and the demand for its shares in the stock market.

The Significance of Equity Shares

Equity shares play a crucial role in corporate governance. As an equity shareholder, you have the power to vote on important decisions, such as electing the board of directors, approving mergers and acquisitions, and making financial decisions that impact the company’s future. This ownership gives you a say in shaping the direction of the company.

Furthermore, equity shares provide a means to share in the company’s profits through dividends and participate in its potential capital appreciation. By owning equity shares, you align your interests with the success of the company, fostering a sense of ownership and commitment.

Explore more: RSI Full Form & Meaning (Relative Strength Index)

Understanding Valuation: How Are Equity Shares Priced?

Valuing equity shares can be complex. Several factors come into play, including the company’s financial performance, growth prospects, industry trends, and market conditions. Valuation methods such as the price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis, and market comparable help determine the intrinsic value of equity shares.

The P/E ratio compares the price of the shares to the company’s earnings per share, providing insights into how the market values the company’s future earnings potential. DCF analysis involves estimating the present value of the company’s future cash flows, taking into account the time value of money. Market comparables assess the company’s value by comparing it to similar companies in the industry.

Investors and analysts carefully evaluate these factors and use various valuation methods to make informed decisions about buying or selling equity shares.

Read more: “EPS: A Key Metric for Profitability”

Comparing Equity Shares to Preference Shares

While equity shares are the most common type of shares, companies may also issue preference shares. Understanding the differences between the two is important for investors.

Equity Shares

Equity shares come with certain characteristics that set them apart from preference shares:

Variable Dividend Rate: Equity shareholders receive dividends based on the company’s profitability and the decision of the board of directors. The dividend rate is not fixed and can vary over time.

Voting Rights: Equity shareholders have the right to vote on important matters concerning the company, such as electing the board of directors and approving significant decisions.

Higher Risk, Higher Potential Returns: Equity shares are considered riskier than preference shares due to their exposure to market fluctuations. However, they also provide the opportunity for greater returns.

Preference Shares

Preference shares have their own unique features that distinguish them from equity shares:

Fixed Dividend Rate: Preference shareholders receive a fixed dividend rate, which provides them with a predictable income stream. This fixed rate takes precedence over any dividends paid to equity shareholders.

No Voting Rights: Unlike equity shareholders, preference shareholders usually do not have voting rights. They do not participate in the decision-making processes of the company.

Lower Risk, Lower Potential Returns: Preference shares are generally considered less risky than equity shares. They offer a stable income stream but may have limited potential for capital appreciation.

Investors carefully assess their risk appetite, income needs, and investment goals to decide whether equity shares or preference shares align better with their investment strategy.

Types of Equity Shares

Equity shares can be further classified into different types based on their characteristics. Let’s explore some common types:

Common Shares

Common shares are the majority shares issued by a company. They come with certain features and benefits:

Voting Rights: Common shareholders have the right to vote in the company’s general meetings and participate in important decision-making processes.

Dividend Entitlement: Common shareholders are eligible to receive dividends, which are a portion of the company’s profits distributed to shareholders.

Capital Appreciation Potential: Common shares allow shareholders to benefit from the company’s growth and capital appreciation.

Preferred Shares

Preferred shares have their own set of characteristics that make them distinct from common shares:

Fixed Dividend Rate: Preferred shareholders receive a fixed dividend rate, providing them with a predictable income stream. This fixed rate is typically higher than the dividend rate for common shares.

Priority in Dividend Payments: In the event of dividend distribution, preferred shareholders have priority over common shareholders. They are entitled to receive their dividends before common shareholders.

No Voting Rights: Preferred shareholders usually do not have voting rights and do not participate in decision-making processes.

Within preferred shares, there may be additional subtypes based on specific terms and conditions, such as cumulative preference shares, non-cumulative preference shares, participating preference shares, and convertible preference shares. These subtypes offer variations in features and benefits, providing investors with more choices based on their preferences and investment goals.

The Role of Dividends in Equity Shares

Dividends are a key component of equity shares. When a company earns profits, it may distribute a portion of those profits as dividends to its shareholders. Dividends provide a regular income stream to investors, making equity shares attractive for income-oriented investors.

The board of directors determines the dividend amount and rate based on the company’s profitability, financial obligations, growth plans, and other relevant factors. The dividend amount can vary from year to year, depending on the company’s performance and management’s decision.

Dividends are typically paid out in cash, but they can also be issued as additional shares or in other forms as determined by the company’s dividend policy.

Factors Affecting the Value of Equity Shares

The value of equity shares is influenced by a multitude of factors. Having a comprehensive understanding of these factors empowers investors to make well-informed decisions. Here are some key considerations:

Company Performance: The financial performance of the company, including revenue growth, profitability, and cash flow generation, significantly impacts the value of equity shares. A well-performing company tends to have a positive impact on share prices.

Industry Trends: The overall health and growth prospects of the industry in which the company operates can affect the value of equity shares. Positive industry trends and favourable market conditions may lead to increased demand for shares.

Market Sentiment: Investor sentiment and market conditions play a vital role in determining share prices. Factors such as economic indicators, geopolitical events, and market volatility can influence investor behaviour and, subsequently, share prices.

Company News and Events: Significant news, such as product launches, mergers and acquisitions, earnings announcements, or changes in key management personnel, can impact the perception of the company’s future prospects and, consequently, share prices.

Investor Demand and Supply: The demand and supply dynamics in the stock market play a crucial role in determining share prices. When there is high demand for a particular stock, it can drive up share prices, while a lack of demand may lead to price declines.

Investors and analysts closely monitor these factors to assess the value and potential future performance of equity shares.

How to Invest in Equity Shares

Investing in equity shares requires careful consideration and research. Let’s kick-start your journey with these essential steps:

Educate Yourself: Gain a thorough understanding of the stock market, equity shares, and the investment process. Familiarise yourself with basic investment principles, terminology, and strategies.

Set Clear Financial Goals and Risk Tolerance: Define your investment objectives and assess your risk tolerance. Consider factors such as your financial situation, time horizon, and investment preferences.

Research Companies: Conduct comprehensive research on companies you are interested in investing in. Evaluate their financial health, growth prospects, competitive advantages, and industry position. Read annual reports, financial statements, and news updates to gather relevant information.

Open a Brokerage Account: Select a trustworthy brokerage firm and create an account. Ensure the brokerage offers reliable trading platforms, research tools, and access to the stock market.

Develop a Diversified Portfolio: Create a well-diversified portfolio by investing in a variety of companies across different sectors. Diversification is like having a backup plan that helps lower your risk by spreading your investments across different assets.

Monitor and Review: Investingcan be a rollercoaster ride, especially when the market is going wild! But hey, don’t let your emotions take the wheel. When things get shaky, resist the urge to make impulsive moves driven by fear or excitement. Stay true to your investment strategy and keep those long-term goals in sight.

Remember, successful investing calls for some serious discipline, patience, and a willingness to keep on learning.

Common Misconceptions about Equity Shares

There are several misconceptions surrounding equity shares. Let’s debunk a few:

Myth: Investing in equity shares is equivalent to gambling. Reality: While investing in the stock market involves risk, informed investing based on research and analysis is far from gambling.

Myth: Only experienced investors can invest in equity shares. Reality: Anyone can invest in equity shares after gaining the necessary knowledge and understanding of the market.

Myth: Equity shares guarantee immediate profits. Reality: Equity shares are subject to market fluctuations and may not always provide immediate profits. It requires a long-term perspective and patience.

Myth: Equity shares are only for the wealthy. Reality: Equity shares are accessible to investors with varying budgets. There are shares available at different price points, enabling investors to start with small amounts.

By dispelling these misconceptions, potential investors can approach equity shares with a more informed and realistic mindset.

Video: Equity Shares

Tips for Successful Equity Share Investing

Here are some tips to enhance your equity share investing journey:

Conduct Thorough Research: Gather as much information as possible about the companies you’re interested in. Evaluate their financial health, growth potential, and competitive advantages.

Diversify Your Portfolio: Spread your investments across different companies and sectors to mitigate risk. A well-diversified portfolio can help cushion the impact of any individual stock’s performance.

Invest for the Long Term: Equity shares tend to perform better over the long term. Avoid making hasty decisions based on short-term market fluctuations and focus on the company’s fundamentals.

Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated on market trends, economic news, and company-specific developments. Regularly review your portfolio and stay connected with reputable sources of financial information.

Control Your Emotions: Investing can be a roller coaster of emotions, especially when the market is all over the place! Don’t let fear or excitement push you into impulsive decisions. Stay cool, stick to your investment plan, and keep your eyes on the long-term prize. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint!

The Pros and Cons of Equity Shares

Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of investing in equity shares:


Potential for Capital Appreciation: Equity shares offer the opportunity for capital appreciation over the long term, providing investors with the potential to grow their wealth.

Dividend Income: Some companies share a portion of their profits with shareholders in the form of dividends. Equity shareholders can benefit from regular dividend income, which can enhance their investment returns.

Ownership and Voting Rights: Equity shareholders have the right to vote on key matters affecting the company. This ownership stake allows shareholders to participate in decision-making processes and have a say in the company’s direction.

Liquidity: Equity shares are traded on stock exchanges, providing investors with the ability to buy or sell shares relatively easily, enhancing liquidity.

Portfolio Diversification: Including equity shares in a well-diversified portfolio can help spread risk and potentially enhance overall returns.


Market Volatility: Equity shares are subject to market fluctuations, and their prices can be volatile. Investors may experience short-term losses or face periods of market downturns.

Risk of Capital Loss: Investing in individual stocks carries the risk of capital loss if the company’s performance deteriorates or faces financial difficulties.

Lack of Control: While shareholders have voting rights, individual investors may have limited influence over company decisions, especially in large corporations.

Time and Effort: Successful equity share investing requires time, effort, and ongoing research to identify investment opportunities, monitor holdings, and stay informed about market trends.

Investors should carefully assess the pros and cons and align their investment strategy with their financial goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon.

FAQs about Equity Shares:

The four types of equity are common equity, preferred equity, retained earnings, and treasury stock.

Shares are called equity because they represent ownership in a company, and ownership is a form of equity. When you buy shares, you own a portion of the company and have a claim on its assets and profits, which makes you an equity holder.

The equity formula is a basic accounting equation that states that equity is equal to assets minus liabilities. In other words, equity is the value of an owner's interest in a company's assets after all debts and liabilities have been paid off.


Equity shares provide individuals with an opportunity to own a part of a company, participate in decision-making processes, and potentially earn dividends and capital appreciation. They offer a pathway to engage in the dynamic world of the stock market and align financial goals with the growth and success of companies.

By understanding the basics of equity shares, valuation methods, comparison to preference shares, different types available, the role of dividends, factors affecting their value, and tips for successful investing, you can navigate the stock market with confidence. Remember to conduct thorough research, diversify your portfolio, stay informed, and have a long-term perspective.

So, take the leap, embark on your equity share investment journey, and unlock the potential for financial growth, wealth creation, and a fulfilling experience in the world of investing!

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