Shares represent a fraction of ownership in a corporation. Shares entitles them to a share of the distributable profits of the company, the dividends.

A company may have different types of shares that come with different conditions and rights: ordinary shares are standard shares with no special rights or restrictions, preference shares typically carry a right that gives the holder preferential treatment when annual dividends are distributed to shareholders and redeemable shares come with an agreement that the company can buy them back at a future.

The investment in shares is never without risk, it exposes an investor to investment risk, the uncertainty of future returns, that it can be measured by the variability (or volatility) of a share price.