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Business     >     Finance     >     Investing     >     Stocks
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wall Street, Manhattan is the location of the New York Stock Exchange and is often used as a symbol for the world of business.    Business and Economics Portal
The word "business" leads here; for other meaning see The Business.
In economics, business is the social science of managing people to organize and maintain collective productivity toward accomplishing particular creative and productive goals, usually to generate revenue.
The etymology of "business" refers to the state of being busy, in the context of the individual as well as the community or society.
The term "business" has at least three usages, depending on the scope — the general usage (above), the singular usage to refer to a particular company or corporation, and the generalized usage to refer to a particular market sector, such as "the record business," "the computer business," or "the business community" -- the community of suppliers of goods and services.
The singular "business" can be a legally-recognized entity within an economically free society, wherein individuals organize based on expertise and skills to bring about social and technological advancement.
With some exceptions, (such as cooperatives, non-profit organizations and (typically) government institutions), businesses are formed to earn profit and grow the personal wealth of its leaders.
In other words, the owners and operators of a business have as one of their main objectives the receipt or generation of a financial return in exchange for their work — that is, the expense of time, energy, and money.

1 Types of businesses
2 Organization
3 Business and government
3.1 Organizing a Vehicle
3.2 Commercial Law and Other Regulation
4 Capital
5 Intellectual property
6 Business and management
7 Business and business taxation in different countries
7.1 United Kingdom
7.2 United States

Types of businesses
Commercial Street, Bangalore. IndiaThere are many types of businesses, and, as a result, businesses can be classified in many ways. One of the most common focuses on the primary profit-generating activities of a business, for example:
Manufacturers produce products, from raw materials or component parts, which they then sell at a profit. Companies that make physical goods, such as cars or pipes, are considered manufacturers.
Service businesses offer intangible goods or services and typically generate a profit by charging for labor or other services provided to other businesses or consumers. Organizations ranging from house painters to consulting firms to restaurants and even to entertainers are types of service businesses.
Retailers and Distributors act as middle-men in getting goods produced by manufacturers to the intended consumer, generating a profit as a result of providing sales or distribution services. Most consumer-oriented stores and catalogue companies are distributors or retailers.
Agriculture and mining businesses are concerned with the production of raw material, such as plants or minerals.
Financial businesses include banks and other companies that generate profit through investment and management of capital.
Information businesses generate profits primarily from the resale of intellectual property and include movie studios, publishers and packaged software companies.
Utilities produce public services, such as heat, electricity, or sewage treatment, and are usually government chartered.
Real estate businesses generate profit from the selling, renting, and development of properties, homes, and buildings.
Transportation businesses deliver goods and individuals from location to location, generating a profit on the transportation costs.
There are many other divisions and subdivisions of businesses. The authoritative list of business types for North America (although it is widely used around the world) is generally considered to be the North American Industry Classification System, or NAICS. The equivalent European Union list is the NACE.

Most businesses must accomplish similar functions regardless of size, legal structure or industry. These functions are often organized into departments. Common departments include (but are not limited to):
Finance and control 
typically responsible for bookkeeping, financial reporting, financial controls and the raising of the capital necessary to run the business. See also Accounting
Human Resources 
typically responsible for hiring, firing, payroll, benefits, etc.
Marketing and sales 
responsible for selling the business' goods or services to the customer and for managing the relationships with the customer
typically responsible for promoting interest in, and generating demand for, the business' products or services, and positioning them within the market
finding likely purchasers and obtaining their agreement (known as a contract) to buy the business' products or services
makes the product or delivers the service
produces the raw materials into the delivered goods, if they require processing
Customer service 
supports customers who need help with the goods or services
responsible for acquiring the goods and services necessary for the business. Sometimes organized as:
Strategic sourcing 
determines the business' needs and plans for acquiring the necessary raw materials and services for the business
processes the purchase orders and related transactions
Information Technology 
manages the business' computer and data assets
Communications/Public Relations 
responsible for communicating to the outside world
provides administrative support to the other departments (such as typing, filing, etc)
Internal Audit 
an independent control function typically accountable to the Board of Directors for reporting on the proper functioning of the other departments
Management is sometimes listed as a "department" but typically refers to the top level of leadership within the business regardless of their functional role.

Business and government
The Bank of England in Threadneedle Street, London, England.Most legal jurisdictions specify the forms that a business can take, and a body of commercial law has developed for each type. Some common types include partnerships, corporations (also called limited liability companies), and sole proprietorships.
The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view.
Please improve the article or discuss the issue on the talk page.[edit]
Organizing a Vehicle
The major factors affecting how a business is organized are usually:
The size and scope of the business, and its anticipated management and ownership : A smaller business is more flexible, larger businesses or those with wider ownership or more formal structures, will usually tend to be organized as partnerships or (more commonly) corporations. In addition a business which wishes to raise money on a stock market or to be owned by a wide range of people will often be required to adopt a specific legal form to do so.
The sector and country : private profit making businesses are different from government owned bodies. In some countries, certain businesses are legally obliged to be organized certain ways.
Limited liability : corporations, and limited liability partnerships, protect their owners from business failure, and are treated as separate entities, whereas an unincorporated business or person working on their own is usually not so protected.
Tax advantages : Different structures are treated differently in tax law, and may have advantages for this reason.
Disclosure and compliance requirements : different business structures may be required to make more or less information puiblic (or reported to relevant authorities), and may be bound to comply with different rules and regulations.
Many businesses are operated through a separate entity such a corporation, limited partnership or limited liability company. Most legal jurisdictions allow people to organize such an entity by filing certain charter documents with the relevant Secretary of State or equivalent and complying with certain other ongoing obligations. The relationships and legal rights of shareholders, limited partners, or members, as the case may be, are governed partly by the charter documents and partly by the law of the jurisdiction where the entity is organized. Generally speaking, shareholders in a corporation, limited partners in a limited partnership, and members in a limited liability company are shielded from personal liability for the debts and obligations of the entity, which is legally treated as a separate "person." This means that unless there is misconduct, the owner's own possessions are strongly protected in law, if the business does not succeed.
Where two or more individuals own a business together but have failed to organize a more specialized form of vehicle, they will be treated as a simple (USA: general) partnership. The terms of a partnership will be partly governed by a partnership agreement if one is created, and partly by the law of the jurisdiction where the partnership is located. No paperwork or filing is necessary to create a partnership, and without an agreement, the relationships and legal rights of the partners will be entirely governed by the law of the jurisdiction where the partnership is located.
A single person who owns and runs a business is commonly known as a sole proprietor, whether he or she owns it directly or through a formally organized entity.

A few relevant factors to consider in deciding how to operate a business include:

General partners in a partnership (other than a limited liability partnership), plus anyone who personally owns and operates a business without creating a separate legal entity, are personally liable for the debts and obligations of the business.
Generally, corporations are required to pay tax just like "real" people. In some tax systems, this can give rise to so-called double-taxation, because first the corporation pays tax on the profit, and then when the corporation distributes its profits to its owners, individuals have to include dividends in their income when they complete their personal tax returns, at which point a second layer of income tax is imposed.
In most countries, there are laws which treat small corporations differently than large ones. They may be exempt from certain legal filing requirements or labor laws, have simplified procedures in specialized areas, and have simplifed, advantageous, or slightly different tax treatment.
In order to "go public" (sometimes called IPO) -- which basically means to allow a part of the business to be owned by a wider range of investors or the public in general -- you must organize a separate entity, which is usually required to comply with a tighter set of laws and procedures. Most public entities are corporations that have sold shares, but increasingly there are also public LLCs that sell units (sometimes also called shares), and other more exotic entities as well (for example, REITs in the USA, Unit Trusts in the UK). However, you cannot take a general partnership "public."

Commercial Law and Other Regulation
Most commercial transactions are governed by a very detailed and well-established body of rules that have evolved over a very long period of time, it being the case that governing trade and commerce was a strong driving force in the creation of law and courts in Western civilization.
As for other laws that regulate or impact businesses, in many countries it is all but impossible to chronicle them all in a single reference source. There are laws governing treatment of labor and generally relations with employees, safety and protection issues (OSHA or Health and Safety), anti-discrimination laws (age, gender, disabilities, race, and in some jurisdictions, sexual orientation), minimum wage laws, union laws, workers compensation laws, and annual vacation or working hours time.
In some specialized businesses, there may also be licenses required, either due to special laws that govern entry into certain trades, occupations or professions, which may require special education, or by local governments who just want your money. Professions that require special licenses run the gamut from law and medicine to flying airplanes to selling liquor to radio broadcasting to selling investment securities to selling used cars to roofing. Local jurisdictions may also require special licenses and taxes just to operate a business without regard to the type of business involved.

Some businesses are subject to ongoing special regulation. These industries include, for example, public utilities, investment securities, banking, insurance, broadcasting, aviation, and health care providers. Environmental regulations are also very complex and can impact many kinds of businesses in unexpected ways.

When business need to raise money (called 'capital'), more laws come into play. A highly complex set of laws and regulations govern the offer and sale of investment securities (the means of raising money) in most Western countries. These regulations can require disclosure of a lot of specific financial and other information about the business and give buyers certain remedies. Because "securities" is a very broad term, most investment transactions will be potentially subject to these laws, unless a special exemption is available.
Capital may be raised through private means, by public offer (IPO) on a stock exchange, or in many other ways. major stock exchanges include the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq (USA), the London Stock Exchange (UK), and so on. Most countries with capital markets have at least one.
Business that have gone "public" are subject to extremely detailed and complicated regulation about their internal governance (such as how executive officers' compensation is determined) and when and how information is disclosed to the public and their shareholders. In the United States, these regulations are primarily implemented and enforced by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Other Western nations have comparable regulatory bodies.
As noted at the beginning, it is impossible to enumerate all of the types of laws and regulations that impact on business today. In fact, these laws have become so numerous and complex, that no business lawyer can learn them all, forcing increasing specialization among corporate attorneys. It is not unheard of for teams of 5 to 10 attorneys to be required to handle certain kinds of corporate transactions, due to the sprawling nature of modern regulation. Commercial law spans general corporate law, employment and labor law, healthcare law, securities law, M&A law (who specialize in acquisitions), tax law, ERISA law (ERISA in the United States governs employee benefit plans), food and drug regulatory law, intellectual property law (specializing in copyrights, patents, trademarks and such), telecommunications law, and more.

Intellectual property
Businesses often have important "intellectual property" that needs protection from competitors in order to stay profitable. This could require patents or copyrights or preservation of trade secrets. Most business have names, logos and similar branding techniques that could benefit from trademarking. Patents and copyrights in the United States are largely governed by federal law, while trade secrets and trademarking are mostly a matter of state law. Because of the nature of intellectual properly, a business needs protection in every jurisdiction in which they are concerned about competitors. Many countries are signatories to international treaties concerning intellectual property.

Business and management
The study of the efficient and effective operation of a business is called management. The main branches of management are financial management, marketing management, human resource management, strategic management, production management, service management, information technology management, and business intelligence.

Business and business taxation in different countries
Within these principles, business law and practice varies greatly by country.

United Kingdom
Tax - Business tax is covered by Corporation tax for corporations and some bodies, and income tax for unincorporated businesses. Smaller companies tend to get exemptions from onerous laws and a sliding scale of tax advantages.
Consumer law - The UK has relatively strong laws protecting members of the public as consumers. Within Business to business (B2B) the buyer is assumed to be commercially competent and hence in less need of external protection in their decisions. There is strong law for unfair contract terms, which protect businesses and consumers from inequitable contract terms imposed upon them by others.

United States
Tax - Corporations that have a small number of shareholders and meet other conditions may qualify to be treated by the IRS as so-called "S Corporations," because they are described in subchapter S of the Internal Revenue Code. All other corporations pay taxes under subchapter C, and thus are "C Corporations." S Corporations enjoy so-called "pass-through" tax treatment which avoids the second layer of tax. There are ongoing paperwork requirements, though. LLCs and limited partners in a limited partnership enjoy "pass-through" tax treatment and are not subjected to a second layer of tax.
Consumer law - The Uniform Commercial Code has been adopted in some form or another in all 50 states, with some differences, and helps provide some consistency in the treatment of sales of goods, banking transactions, commercial paper, shipping, trading in investment securities, creation and perfection of security interests (i.e., collateral for loans) and other basic commercial activities. The ubiquitous "AS IS" is the subject of an important part of the Uniform.
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Finance studies and addresses the ways in which individuals, businesses and organizations raise, allocate and use monetary resources over time, taking into account the risks entailed in their projects. The term finance may thus incorporate any of the following:
The study of money and other assets
The management and control of those assets
Profiling and managing project risks
As a verb, "to finance" is to provide funds for business.
1 Examples of some basic financial concepts
2 Personal finance
3 Business finance
4 Shared Services
5 Finance of states
6 Financial economics
7 Financial mathematics
8 Experimental finance

Examples of some basic financial concepts
The activity of finance is the application of a set of techniques that individuals and organizations (entities) use to manage their financial affairs, particularly the differences between income and expenditure and the risks of their investments.
An entity whose income exceeds its expenditure can lend or invest the excess income. On the other hand, an entity whose income is less than its expenditure can raise capital by borrowing or selling equity claims, decreasing its expenses, or increasing its income. The lender can find a borrower, a financial intermediary, such as a bank or buy notes or bonds in the bond market. The lender receives interest, the borrower pays a higher interest than the lender receives, and the financial intermediary pockets the difference.
A bank aggregates the activities of many borrowers and lenders. A bank accepts deposits from lenders, on which it pays interest. The bank then lends these deposits to borrowers. Banks allow borrowers and lenders of different sizes to coordinate their activity. Banks are thus compensators of money flows in space since they allow different lenders and borrowers to meet, and in time, since every borrower will eventually pay back.
A specific example of corporate finance is the sale of stock by a company to institutional investors like investment banks, who in turn generally sell it to the public. The stock gives whoever owns it part ownership in that company. If you buy one share of XYZ inc, and they have 100 shares available, you are 1/100 owner of that company. You own 1/100 of anything on the asset side of the balance sheet. Of course, in return for the stock, the company receives cash, which it uses to expand its business in a process called "equity financing". Equity financing mixed with the sale of bonds (or any other debt financing) is called the company's capital structure.
Finance is used by individuals (personal finance), by governments (public finance), by businesses (corporate finance), etc., as well as by a wide variety of organizations including schools and non-profit organizations. In general, the goals of each of the above activities are achieved through the use of appropriate financial instruments, with consideration to their institutional setting.

Personal finance
Questions in personal finance revolve around
How much money will be needed by an individual (or by a family) at various points in the future?
Where will this money come from (e.g. savings or borrowing)?
How can people protect themselves against unforeseen events in their lives, and risk in financial markets?
How can family assets be best transferred across generations (bequests and inheritance)?
How do taxes (tax subsidies or penalties) affect personal financial decisions?
Personal financial decisions may involve paying for education, financing durable goods such as real estate and cars, buying insurance, e.g. health and property insurance, investing and saving for retirement.

Business finance
In the case of a company, managerial finance or corporate finance is the task of providing the funds for the corporations' activities. It generally involves balancing risk and profitability. Long term funds would be provided by ownership equity and long-term credit, often in the form of bonds. These decisions lead to the company's capital structure. Short term funding or working capital is mostly provided by banks extending a line of credit.
On the bond market, borrowers package their debt in the form of bonds. The borrower receives the money it borrows by selling the bond, which includes a promise to repay the value of the bond with interest. The purchaser of a bond can resell the bond, so the actual recipient of interest payments can change over time. Bonds allow lenders to recoup the value of their loan by simply selling the bond.

Another business decision concerning finance is investment, or fund management. An investment is an acquisition of an asset in the hopes that it will maintain or increase its value. In investment management - in choosing a portfolio - one has to decide what, how much and when to invest. In doing so, one needs to

Identify relevant objectives and constraints: institution or individual - goals - time horizon - risk aversion - tax considerations
Identify the appropriate strategy: active vs passive - hedging strategy
Measure the portfolio performance
Financial management is duplicate with the financial function of the accounting profession. However, accounting is concerned with reporting of historical financial information, while the financial decision is directed toward the future of the firm.

Shared Services
There is currently a move towards converging and consolidating Finance provisions into shared services within an organisation. Rather than an organisation having a number of separate Finance departments performing the same tasks from different locations a more centralised version can be created.

Finance of states
Country, state, county, city or municipality finance is called public finance. It is concerned with

Identification of required expenditure of a public sector entity
Source(s) of that entity's revenue
The budgeting process
Debt issuance (municipal bonds) for public works projects

Financial economics
Main article: Financial economics
Financial economics is the branch of economics studying the interrelation of financial variables, s.a. prices, interest rates and shares as opposed to those concerning the real economy. Financial economics concentrates on influences of real economic variables on financial ones, in contrast to pure finance.
It studies:
Valuation - Determination of the fair value of an asset
How risky is the asset? (identification of the asset appropriate discount rate)
What cash flows will it produce? (discounting of relevant cash flows)
How does the market price compare to similar assets? (relative valuation)
Are the cash flows dependent on some other asset or event? (derivatives, contingent claim valuation)
Financial markets and instruments
Commodities - topics
Stocks - topics
Bonds - topics
Money market instruments- topics
Derivatives - topics
Financial institutions and regulation

Financial mathematics
Main article: Financial mathematics
Financial mathematics is the branch of applied mathematics concerned with the financial markets. Financial mathematics is the study of financial data with the tools of mathematics, mainly statistics. Such data can be movements of securities - stocks and bonds etc. - and their relations. Another large subfield is insurance mathematics.

Experimental finance
Main article: Experimental finance
The goals of Experimental Finance are to establish different market settings and environment to observe experimentally and analyze agents' behavior and the resulting characteristics of trading flows, information diffusion and aggregation, price setting mechanism and returns processes. In view of the drawbacks of Financial economics, researchers in Experimental Finance can study to what extent existent theory makes valid predictions and attempt to discover new principles on which theory can be extended through artificial competitive markets.

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Invest" redirects here. For other uses, see Invest (disambiguation).
Investment or investing1 is a term with several closely-related meanings in finance and economics, related to saving or deferring consumption. An asset is usually purchased, or equivalently a deposit is made in a bank, in hopes of getting a future return or interest from it. Literally, the word means the "action of putting something in to somewhere else" (perhaps originally related to a person's garment or 'vestment').

1 Types of investment
1.1 Economics
1.2 Finance
1.3 Personal finance
2 See also
3 Notes

Types of investment
The major difference in the use of the term investment in economics and finance is that economists are usually referring to a real investment - such as a machine or a house - but financial economists usually refer to a financial asset - money that is put into a bank or the market - which may then be used to buy a real asset.

In theoretical economics, investment means the purchase (and thus the production) of capital goods - goods which are not consumed but instead used in future production. Examples include building a railroad, or a factory, clearing land, or putting oneself through college. In a stricter sense, investment is also a component of GDP given in the formula GDP = C + I + G + NX. The investment function in that aspect is divided into non-residential investment (such as factories, machinery etc) and residential investment (new houses).
Investment is often modeled as a function of income and interest rates, given by the relation I = (Y, i). An increase in income will encourage higher investment, whereas a higher interest rate may discourage investment as it becomes costlier to borrow money. Even if a firm chooses to use its own funds in an investment, the interest rate represents an opportunity cost of investing those funds rather than loaning them out for interest.

In finance, investment means buying securities or other monetary or paper (financial) assets in the money markets or capital markets, or in fairly liquid real assets, such as gold as an investment, real estate, or collectibles. Valuation is the method for assessing whether a potential investment is worth its price.
Types of financial investments include shares or other equity investment, and bonds (including bonds denominated in foreign currencies). These investments assets are then expected to provide income or positive future cash flows, but may increase or decrease in value giving the investor capital gains or losses.
Trades in contingent claims or derivative securities do not necessarily have future positive expected cash flows - so are not considered to be assets, or strictly speaking, securities or investments. Nevertheless, since their cash flows are closely related to (or derived from) those of specific securities, they are often studied as or treated as investments.
Investments are often made indirectly through intermediaries, such as banks, mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies, collective investment schemes, or even investment clubs. Though their legal and procedural details differ, an intermediary generally makes an investment using money from many individuals, each of whom receives a claim on the intermediary.

Personal finance
Within personal finance, money used to purchase shares, put in a collective investment scheme or used to buy any asset where there is an element of capital risk is deemed an investment. Saving within personal finance refers to money put aside, normally on a regular basis. This distinction is important as investment risk can cause a capital loss when an investment is realised, unlike saving(s) where the more limited risk is cash devaluing due to inflation.
In many instances the term saving and investment are used interchangeably which confuses this distinction. For example many deposit accounts are labeled as investment accounts by banks for marketing purposes. To help establish whether an asset is saving(s) or an investment you shoud consider where your money is invested. If the answer is cash then it is savings, if it is a type of asset which can fluctuate in value then it is investment.

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses of the term, see Stock (disambiguation).
The stocks are a device used since medieval times for public humiliation, corporal punishment, and torture. The stocks are similar to the pillory and the pranger, as each consists of large, hinged, wooden boards; the difference, however, is that when a person is placed in the stocks, their feet are also locked in place, as well as their hands and head. With stocks, boards are placed around the legs or the wrists, whereas in the pillory they are placed around the arms and neck and fixed to a pole. Hence the stocks can be seen as a portable version of the pillory. However, the terms can be confused, and many people refer to the pillory as the stocks. The practice of using stocks continues to be cited as an example of cruel and unusual punishment.

Locked in wooden stocks, awaiting their fateContents [hide]
1 Historical uses
2 Current uses

Historical uses
The stocks were popular in medieval times as a mild restraining device for minor offenders. In the stocks, an offender's ankles would be placed and locked through two holes in the center of a board. Either before or after this the wrongdoer would have his or her shoes and socks removed, exposing their bare feet. Exhibiting an offender's bare feet was considered a form of humiliation. Offenders were forced to carry out their punishments in the rain, during the heat of summer, or in freezing weather, and generally would receive only bread and water.
Public stocks were typically positioned in the most public place available, as public humiliation was a critical aspect of such punishment. Typically, a person condemned to the stocks was subjected to a variety of abuses, ranging from paddling and tickling of the feet (compare the excruciating oriental falaqa, a bastinado applied to the tender foot-soles) to being stoned to death.
The stocks were used in Elizabethan England, and by the Puritans in the colonial period of American history.
Finger pillories often went by the name of finger stocks
Stocks were also used as punishment for military deserters, or for dereliction of military duty.

Current uses
In the modern age, the stocks are still used in some countries as punishment and confinement devices.
The stocks have also taken on a lighter image, as they are often found at Renaissance Fairs where the public can experience a form of "stocks entertainment" by watching actors locked in the stocks.

An excellent example of stocks can be seen in Dromore, County Down, in Northern Ireland.
Locations of other examples include:

Chapel en le Frith

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