When most people think of stocks, they imagine publicly traded assets that are bought and sold on a stock exchange. However, it’s crucial for investors to understand the various types of stocks available, each with its unique characteristics. This will help them determine when a particular stock might align with their investment goals.

To alleviate any confusion about the different classes of shares offered to investors, we’ve outlined the major categories below.

Ordinary vs preferred shares

Common shares are the most basic type of ownership in a company. They give investors a share of the company’s profits, usually in the form of dividends. Common stockholders also have the right to elect the company’s board of directors and vote on corporate policies. However, they have the last priority in receiving company assets in the event of liquidation, after preferred stockholders and other debt holders have been paid. Founders and employees of companies typically receive common stock.

Preferred shares, on the other hand, offer investors regular dividend payments, which are guaranteed to be paid before common stockholders receive any dividends. In addition, preferred stockholders have priority over common stockholders in the event of liquidation or bankruptcy. However, preferred shares do not carry voting rights, making them unsuitable for investors who want to actively participate in corporate governance.

Numerous companies offer both common and preferred shares, with Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, being an example. Alphabet Inc. offers Class A common stock and Class C preferred stock.

Growth stocks vs value stocks

Growth stocks are identified by their potential to grow at a faster pace than the overall market.

Generally, growth stocks perform better during periods of economic expansion and when interest rates are low. For instance, technology stocks have exhibited exceptional growth in recent years, fueled by a strong economy and access to affordable financing.

In contrast, value stocks, such as financial, healthcare, and energy companies, tend to excel during economic upturns as they typically generate steady revenue streams.

Income shares

Income stocks are a category of investments that prioritize regular dividend payments to shareholders, often exceeding the market average. These stocks, typically represented by utilities, exhibit lower volatility and lower equity valuations compared to growth stocks. This makes them a suitable choice for risk-averse investors seeking a stable stream of income.


Blue chip stocks

Blue-chip stocks are the epitome of stability and reliability in the stock market. These companies are well-established giants with substantial market capitalizations, boasting a long history of consistent profitability and industry leadership.

Conservative investors often seek refuge in blue-chip stocks, particularly during periods of market volatility. These stocks offer stability and predictability, making them a solid foundation for a diversified portfolio. Notable examples of blue-chip stocks include Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), McDonald’s Corporation (MCD), and Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM).

Cyclical and non-cyclical stocks

Cyclical stocks are closely linked to the overall performance of the economy, following its expansion, peak, decline, and recovery cycles. They tend to exhibit higher volatility and outperform other stocks during economic booms, when consumers have more disposable income to spend on discretionary goods and services.

Examples of cyclical stocks include Apple Inc. (AAPL), the maker of the iPhone, and Nike Inc. (NKE), a leading sportswear manufacturer.

Non-cyclical stocks operate in industries that are less affected by economic fluctuations, making them known as “recession-resistant.” These stocks tend to perform relatively well regardless of the economic climate, as demand for essential products and services remains stable.

Examples of non-cyclical stocks include The Procter & Gamble Company (PG), a major manufacturer of personal care products, as well as beverage giants PepsiCo, Inc. (PEP) and The Coca-Cola Company (KO).