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What is equity? What are its types? How does equity investment work? Formula to calculate and more

What is equity, and what do investors need to know to start out with equity investments? Let's explore its significance in our comprehensive article

Published: Jun 13, 2023 01:16:18 PM IST
Updated: Aug 2, 2023 06:29:36 PM IST

What is equity? What are its types? How does equity investment work? Formula to calculate and more

In the context of stock market investments, equities represent an ownership share in a corporate body. Essentially, they signify the monetary value shareholders are entitled to receive when a company settles all debt and liquidates its assets. Consequently, purchasing a company's stock or equity grants an individual partial ownership of the company.

By investing in a company's stocks, individuals can generate profits through the appreciation of stock prices or capital gains. Additionally, owning shares in a corporation grants individuals the right to participate in voting on matters pertaining to the board of directors.

This article will explore the basics of investing in equity shares, ranging from the potential for high returns and protection against inflation to the ease of accessibility and diversification opportunities. Our aim is to provide concise and informative answers that will enhance your understanding of this dynamic investment option.

Also Read: Angel investors: What is angel investing and how does it work?

What is equity?

Equity represents the funds distributed to stockholders following the liquidation of a company's assets and the settling of any debts. Essentially, it denotes the value and ownership stake held by an individual or business in an organisation, calculated by deducting liabilities, including debt.

Equities are essential benchmarks financial analysts use to evaluate a company's financial health. Familiarity with equity fundamentals can prove advantageous for businesses and professionals, enabling them to gain insights into their investments and make informed business decisions in the future.

Also Read: What is the price-to earnings (P/E) ratio

Why is equity important?

Investors place importance on equity as it signifies their financial interest in a company. When the company performs well, stockholders have the potential to earn profits via their ownership of shares. This may come in the form of capital gains, dividends, and notional profits via share price appreciation.

In addition to the financial advantages, owning shares in a company may grant stockholders the privilege to participate in governance and have a say in votes taken. This gives them a level of decision-making authority within the company, with the potential to significantly impact a company's future outcomes.

Also Read: Unicorns in India: Full list of startup companies with unicorn status in 2023

What are the components of equity?

Equity components refer to the various elements that constitute shareholders' equity on a company's balance sheet. These elements encompass:

  1. Outstanding shares: This refers to the number of shares that have been sold to investors and are still held by them instead of being repurchased by the company.
  2. Additional Paid-in Capital: It represents the amount of money paid by shareholders for shares of stock exceeding the stated par value.
  3. Retained earnings: When a company retains its earnings rather than distributing them as dividends, a positive balance is accumulated in the retained earnings account, contributing to shareholders' equity.
  4. Treasury stock: These are shares repurchased by the company but not yet retired, thereby reducing the number of outstanding shares.
Also Read: Nifty 50 stocks list in 2023: Stock weightage, sectors and computation methodology


What are the types of equity?

Types of equity refer to various forms of equity investments available to individuals. These include:

  1. Shares: Shares, commonly known as stocks, represent units of partial ownership in a company.
  2. Equity Mutual Fund Investments: These are mutual funds which invest a predominant part of the total accumulated amounts in the equity shares of different companies.
  3. Equity Futures: Equity futures are financial derivative contracts in which the seller or buyer agrees to transact at a future date and price for a specified underlying asset.
  4. Equity Options: Similar to futures, equity options involve contractual agreements where parties agree to transact at a future date, at a certain price. However, parties involved are not legally obliged to follow through with their agreement.
  5. Arbitrage Schemes: Investors can participate in arbitrage funds, which are equity-oriented funds primarily investing in equities, debt or money market instruments, and equity derivatives.
  6. Alternative Investment Funds: Individuals can opt to invest in equity instruments through alternative funds, which consist of diverse investment pools primarily focusing on hedge funds, venture capital, managed futures, private equity, and other related avenues.
Also Read: Derivatives: Meaning, types, how to trade them, and more

How does shareholder equity work?

The popularity of equity share investments among individuals stems from their potential for high returns. Here’s how shareholder equity works:

Investing in a company's stocks allows individuals to generate profits through capital gains or the appreciation of stock prices.

Additionally, owning a company's shares grants individuals the right to participate in voting processes concerning the board of directors.

Despite the potential for substantial returns, equity investments also carry a level of risk. Therefore, it is crucial for individuals to assess their risk tolerance before making decisions regarding investing in stocks.

Formula to calculate equity

The formula for calculating equity is straightforward and involves subtracting liabilities from assets. The equation is as follows:

Equity = Assets - Liabilities

In this formula, "assets" refers to the total value of a company's resources, including cash, property, equipment, inventory, and investments. "Liabilities" represent the company's debts and obligations, such as loans, accounts payable, and accrued expenses.

When total assets are subtracted from total liabilities, the remaining amount is the company's equity. Equity signifies the residual interest in the company's assets that belongs to the shareholders or owners. It is the amount that would be available to stockholders after all of the company's liabilities have been settled.

The advantages of equity

The advantages of investing in equity shares can be summarised like so:

  1. Potential for high returns: Equity shares offer the opportunity for high returns, not only through dividends but also through capital appreciation, as the stock price increases over time.
  2. Protection against inflation: By investing in equity shares, individuals can potentially outpace inflation and preserve the purchasing power of their investments. The higher returns earned from equities can act as a cushion against the effects of inflation.
  3. Easy accessibility: Investing in equity shares is relatively easy and accessible. With the assistance of a stockbroker or financial planner, investors can quickly and conveniently invest in shares through stock exchanges such as the NSE or BSE.
  4. Diversification of Portfolio: Equity shares provide a means to diversify investment portfolios. While debt instruments may offer lower risk, they may not always generate high returns. By including equities in their portfolio, investors can balance risk and potentially achieve higher returns.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the minimum investment required for equity shares?

The minimum investment in equity shares varies and depends on the market price of the shares.

2. How are dividends paid to equity shareholders?

Dividends are typically paid to equity shareholders in terms of cash or additional shares of stock.

3. Can I sell my equity shares at any time?

Yes, equity shares can be sold at any time during market trading hours through a stockbroker or online trading platform.

4. Are equity shares considered risky investments?

Yes, equity shares carry inherent market risk as their value can fluctuate based on factors such as market conditions, company performance, and investor sentiment.

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