When you invest in a stock, you become one of the owners of a corporation. Stocks represent ownership shares, also known as equity shares. Whether you make or lose money on a stock depends on the success or failure of the company, which type of stock you own, and what’s going on in the stock market overall and other factors.

Stocks and stock mutual funds often can be an important component of a diversified investment portfolio. Learn more about different types of stocks and how to assess whether a given stock is right for you.