What is Floating Stock?

  •  7 min
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  • 06 Oct 2023
What is Floating Stock?

Key Highlights

The following are the primary highlights of the floating stock:

  • Floating stock indicates shares that are available for trading on the open market, ensuring liquidity and making it simple for investors to acquire and sell shares.

  • Due to a bigger supply of shares, larger floating stocks typically experience less volatility, which might affect a stock's price swings.

  • Individual and institutional investors can participate in changes in a company's stock price.

  • A high percentage of floating stock frequently indicates a busy market, whereas a lower percentage may imply less trading activity.

Floating stock, as used in the context of the share market, refers to the portion of shares of a company that is publicly listed that are available to investors for trading on the open market. It displays the number of shares that are up for sale to private and institutional investors but are not owned by promoters, insiders, or other strategic investors. Floating stock is a crucial idea since it immediately impacts a stock's liquidity and price dynamics.

The term "floating stock" does not include shares that are closely held or restricted, such as those held by business founders, significant stockholders, or organizations covered by lock-up agreements. There is no open market trading for these restricted shares. A stock's liquidity can be improved by the presence of a sizable proportion of floating stock, which enables investors to buy and sell shares without experiencing major price changes.

When people want to decide if a stock is a good investment, they look at something called "floating stock." This is how many of the available shares for that company can be bought and sold by regular people like you and me. If there's not much floating stock available, it means the stock's price might go up and down a lot because not many people are trading it. But if there's a lot of floating stock, it means more people can buy and sell it, and the price might be steadier.

So, when people are thinking about investing or studying the stock market, they look at how much floating stock there is. It's an important number to understand how a stock behaves in the market. After we know what floating stocks are, we'll talk about why they matter and how they affect the stock market.

Floating stock is a really important thing to think about when you're looking at a stock to invest in. It tells us how many shares of that company are available for people like you and me to buy and sell.

When there are more shares available (a bigger floating stock), it's easier for people to buy and sell them without making the stock's price go up or down too much. This is good because it means the stock's price stays steady, and it's not easily controlled by just a few people. But if there are fewer shares available (a smaller floating stock), it's easier for the price to go up and down a lot because there aren't many shares to trade. This can make the stock more unpredictable.

So, when we look at how much floating stock a stock has, it helps us understand how easy it is to trade, how fair the prices are, and whether the stock is likely to have big price swings. This is important for people who want to invest and make smart decisions in the stock market.

Example of a Floating Stock

Example of a publicly listed automaker like General Motors: Like many big firms, General Motors has a sizable number of outstanding shares; however, not all of them are included in the floating stock. Assume that there are 1 billion shares of General Motors outstanding overall. Sometimes, a company's shares are mostly owned by people inside the company, like the big bosses and some big investors. These shares can't be freely bought and sold by regular folks like us.

When we talk about General Motors, for example, the floating stock is the part of their shares that anyone can trade on the stock market. It's these shares that make it easy for regular people and big investors to buy and sell General Motors' stock. This makes General Motors' stock market activity busier and easier for everyone to trade.

To figure out how many shares people can freely trade, we do a simple math. We start with the total number of shares a company has, and then we take away the shares that can't be freely traded. What's left is the floating stock, which is the part everyone can buy and sell. Shares that are restricted are those that cannot be traded because of lock-up clauses, insider ownership, or other limitations.

Sometimes, a company has shares that belong to big institutions or a plan for its employees called ESOP. These shares can't be traded freely by everyone, but they are still counted in the total number of shares the company has given out.

But when we want to know how many shares regular people can trade, we only look at the shares that are not restricted. We add up all the shares everyone can buy and sell, and that's what we call "floating stock.

Here's the simple formula for floating stock:

Floating Stock = Total Shares - Restricted Shares It helps us understand how many shares are available for everyone to trade.

For investors and the larger market, floating stock, which is the term used to describe shares of a publicly traded firm that are available for trading on the open market, has both benefits and drawbacks.

Advantages of Floating Stock

1. Less Bumpy Rides: When there's enough floating stock, it means lots of people can buy and sell shares easily. This makes the market less jumpy, and investors like that because they can trade without big price swings.

2. Finding the Right Price: Floating stock helps us figure out the real price of a stock. It's like when you see something for sale, and many people are buying and selling it – the price is just right because it's what people agree on.

3. Making Things Work Smoothly: Having floating stock makes the stock market work better. It means there are clear rules for trading, and it's harder for a few big players to control things.

4. Everyone's Included: When there's floating stock, regular people and big investors can all join in on the profits and losses of a company's stock.

Disadvantages of Floating Stock

1. Price Bouncing: Sometimes, if there's not much floating stock, the stock's price can jump around a lot because there aren't many shares to trade. This can be risky for investors.

2. Guessing Game: When there's a lot of floating stock, some people might guess about the stock's value. This can make the price go up and down quickly, even if it doesn't match what the company is really worth.

3. Ownership Spread Thin: Companies can make more floating stock, which can spread out ownership among current shareholders. This might affect the stock's price.

4. Big Players in Control: While floating stock can be fair, it can also be influenced by powerful institutions or traders, especially when a stock isn't traded a lot. They might try to control the price.

5. Not in All Indexes: Some stocks with very little floating stock may not be part of certain stock market groups, which limits their exposure to certain investment funds.

So, having floating stock is good because it makes it easier for people to trade, but it can also have some downsides, like price swings and market manipulation. Investors need to think about these things when they decide to invest in stocks.


Understanding Floating stocks meaning is one of the most important factors in the stock market. It gives investors the opportunity to buy and sell shares of publicly traded firms, and is essential to the dynamics of the stock market. Its impact on a stock's liquidity, price stability, and general market activity is what gives it its relevance. Investors can make better-informed decisions, navigate market volatility with greater confidence, and actively participate in the world of stock trading by grasping the notion of floating stock and its effects.

FAQs on Floating Stocks

The quantity of shares that are floatable or accessible for trade might affect the price of a share. A bigger float can contribute to price stability, whereas a smaller float can result in a more compelling price.

Businesses issue stock through initial public offerings (IPOs) to raise money for expansion, growth, or debt repayment.

Publicly traded shares of corporations with stock exchange listings, such as Apple Inc. (AAPL) on the NASDAQ and General Electric Company (GE) on the NYSE, are examples of floating stock.

Access to the stock market, liquidity, and transparency are all advantages of floating stock for investors.

The liquidity of a stock is directly impacted by floating stock. Greater liquidity is typically the result of more floating stock, which enables investors to purchase and sell shares more easily.

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