What Are Outstanding Shares? 

What Are Outstanding Shares? 

Outstanding shares represent the total number of a company’s shares currently held by all its shareholders, including the general public, institutional investors, and company insiders. These publicly traded shares account for the company’s ownership distributed among various stakeholders.

Content :

Outstanding Share Meaning 

Outstanding shares represent the aggregate of a company’s shares that all public and internal shareholders hold. 

Outstanding shares encompass all the shares a company has issued currently owned by shareholders, including individuals, institutions, and company insiders. They are an important measure for investors as they reflect the true magnitude of equity in circulation and are crucial for calculating per-share financial metrics. 

Outstanding Shares Example

Consider a hypothetical company, ABC Corp, that initially issued 1 million shares. Over time, it buys back 200,000 shares, leaving 800,000 shares outstanding. These outstanding shares include those held by retail investors, institutional investors, and company insiders but exclude the treasury shares held by the company.

Weighted Average Shares Outstanding

The term “weighted average shares outstanding” refers to a calculation examining how the number of outstanding shares has changed throughout a reporting period. This average is used in financial metrics like earnings per share (EPS), showing how well a company performs more accurately.

This method accounts for stock splits, buybacks, and additional share issuances, offering a more nuanced view of the company’s equity structure across a specific timeframe. Using the weighted average, investors get a clearer picture of the company’s earnings per share, which is crucial for making informed investment decisions.

Types Of Shares Outstanding 

Shares outstanding can be categorized into various types, including:

Common Shares 

Common Shares are the regular shares that public investors own. Holders of these shares usually have voting rights in company decisions and are eligible for dividends. They are the most common type of stock companies issue and are actively traded in the stock market.

Preferred Shares 

Preferred Shares differ from common shares as they usually don’t provide voting rights. However, they can receive dividend payments and liquidation proceeds before common shareholders. These shares are a hybrid of stocks and bonds, offering fixed dividends.

Restricted Shares 

Restricted Shares are typically owned by company insiders, like executives and employees. These shares often come with sale restrictions, usually tied to specific conditions or periods. They are part of compensation packages and are meant to align the interests of insiders with those of the company.

Treasury Shares 

Treasury Shares are shares that a company has repurchased from the public. These shares are held by the company itself and are not counted as outstanding shares in the market. They don’t have voting rights or pay dividends and are often used for corporate purposes like stock-based employee compensation plans.

Authorized Shares

Authorized Shares refer to the maximum number of shares a company is allowed to issue, as specified in its charter. This number sets the upper limit on how many shares a company can offer to the public and insiders, which can be changed with shareholder approval.

How To Find Number Of Shares Outstanding? 

To find the number of outstanding shares of a company, one can typically refer to the company’s financial statements, especially the balance sheet or the stockholder’s equity section in the annual report. These reports often directly list the total outstanding shares. 

Things to keep in mind are:

  • Annual and Quarterly Reports: Publicly traded companies disclose outstanding shares in these reports.
  • Stock Exchanges: Company profiles on stock exchanges may include this information.
  • Financial News Services: Platforms like Bloomberg and Reuters often provide details on outstanding shares.

Difference Between Issued And Outstanding Shares 

The main difference between issued and outstanding shares is that issued shares include all shares a company has ever issued, while outstanding shares are those currently held by all shareholders, excluding treasury shares.

AspectIssued SharesOutstanding Shares
DefinitionTotal shares ever issued by a company, including those bought back or held as treasury shares.Shares currently held by investors, excluding shares repurchased by the company.
InclusionIncludes treasury shares.Excludes treasury shares.
Role in ValuationLess directly involved in market capitalization.Directly impacts market capitalization and per-share calculations.
ChangeabilityCan increase with new stock issuances.Varies with buybacks and new issuances.

To understand the topic and get more information, please read the related stock market articles below.

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What Are Outstanding Shares? – Quick Summary

  • Outstanding shares refer to all shares currently owned by shareholders, including institutions and company insiders.
  • They are used to calculate vital financial metrics like market capitalization and earnings per share.
  • Outstanding shares differ from issued shares, which include all shares ever created by the company, including treasury shares.
  • They are crucial in understanding a company’s valuation and shareholder equity.
  • Changes in the number of outstanding shares can affect a company’s stock price and investor perception.
  • Invest in share market at no cost with Alice Bue.

Outstanding Shares Definition – FAQs

1. What Are Outstanding Shares?

Outstanding shares are the total number of shares of a company that are currently owned by all its shareholders, including institutional investors and company insiders.

2. How To Calculate Outstanding Shares?

Outstanding shares are calculated by subtracting treasury shares from issued shares. This information is often provided in the company’s financial statements.

3. Is it good for a stock to have outstanding shares?

Yes, having outstanding shares is normal for a publicly traded company; it represents the shares available for trading in the market.

4. What is the difference between outstanding shares and normal shares?

The primary distinction between normal and outstanding shares is that normal shares typically refer to common shares held by investors, representing equity ownership in a company. Outstanding shares, however, include all shares issued by a company, encompassing both common and preferred shares. 

5. Can outstanding shares be higher than issued shares?

No, outstanding shares cannot exceed issued shares as they are a subset of the latter.

6. Is outstanding shares good or bad?

The number of outstanding shares is neither good nor bad, but its changes can impact market perception and stock valuation.

7. Can outstanding shares be sold?

Yes, outstanding shares represent the portion of a company’s shares that are in the hands of investors and can be traded in the stock market.

We hope that you are clear about the topic. But there is more to learn and explore when it comes to the stock market, commodity and hence we bring you the important topics and areas that you should know:

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