common stock definition

The type of stock that is present at every corporation. (Some corporations have preferred stock in addition to their common stock.) Shares of common stock provide evidence of ownership in a corporation. Holders of common stock elect the corporation's directors and share in the distribution of profits of the company via dividends. If the corporation were to liquidate, the secured lenders would be paid first, followed by unsecured lenders, preferred stockholders (if any), and lastly the common stockholders.