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  • Dividends are a share in the company's profits given to stockholders. The board of directors decides the amount. Preferred dividends are where the stockholder is put first in the payment process.
  • Over-the-counter markets are areas anywhere in day to day life that stock from small companies are sold instead of a public auction.
  • If the Hughes Company continues to grow and issue more stock over time, it might ask to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.  The company must first submit its financial records to the Securities and Exchange Commission for approval to be publicly traded.  If approved, by paying the NYSE a yearly fee and meeting certain other requirements, the Hughes Company is entitled to have its stock bought and sold, or traded, at the NYSE.  
  • The New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange, the NASDAQ, and other exchanges in large cities across the country are simply places where the stocks and bonds of member companies are bought and sold.  The prices of stocks and bonds are not regulated by anyone, but are determined by their value to the people who want to buy and sell.  The value is based on how well the company is run, whether it is likely to continue to grow, how much buyers are willing to pay for the stock, and how cheaply owners are willing to sell.
  • The buying or selling price at any given moment is often a compromise between the highest price a buyer is willing to pay and the lowest price for which the owner is willing to sell.  This process is referred to as an “auction” market. The actual buying and selling at one of the exchanges is done by a broker, who acts as an agent or representative for the people who want to buy and sell stocks.  The broker carries out his or her customers’ orders in exchange for a small percentage of the sale or purchase price, known as a commission. Commission rates are set by the exchanges, and all national retail brokerage firms charge the same rates for carrying out the orders of their customers.
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  • The actual buying and selling at one of the exchanges is done by a broker, who acts as an agent or representative for the people who want to buy and sell stocks.  The broker carries out his or her customers’ orders in exchange for a small percentage of the sale or purchase price, known as a commission.  The size of the commission thus depends on the size of the sale.  Commission rates are set by the exchanges, and all national retail brokerage firms charge the same rates for carrying out the orders of their customers.
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