In finance, written evidence of ownership conferring the right to receive property not currently in the holder's possession. The most common securities are stocks and bonds. Governments, companies, and financial institutions use securities to raise money. Stocks are securities issued in the form of equity ownership. Bonds are securities that take the form of debt. They constitute promises to pay a specified amount at a specified date and to pay interest at a specified rate in the interim. Most government securities are bonds that pay a fixed amount of interest per year; unlike commercial securities, their repayment is guaranteed. Both stocks and bonds are traded publicly on organized exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange, the London Stock Exchange, and the Tokyo Stock Exchange. External forces such as international troubles, changes in government policies, and trends in foreign stock markets all have an effect on security prices. For individual stocks, the company's current and prospective financial performance play an important role, as do overall trends within its business sector. See also investment; saving.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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