A stock is a way for entrepreneurs to finance businesses using money collected from investors. In return for putting in money to finance the company, the investor gets shares of stock that are "secured" by a claim on the assets and profits of a company.
When you buy a corporation's stock, you become part owner of the company. This ownership is also referred to as having equity in the company -- hence stocks are equity securities. As an owner, you are entitled to share in the company's earnings through dividend payments and to benefit from the company's growth through the increase in the market value of the stock you own. Shareholders elect the board of directors, thereby indirectly controlling the management of the company.
Click the following links to find out more about stocks:
Types of Stock
of Stock Orders
How Stocks Trade
Buying on Margin