# How to Calculate the Number of Shares of Common Stock Outstanding

### Here's how to find out how many shares of a company's stock are owned by all investors.

Jan 14, 2016 at 12:21AM

The number of shares of common stock outstanding is a metric that tells us how many shares of a company are currently owned by investors. This can often be found in a company's financial statements, but is not always readily available -- rather, you may see terms like "issued shares" and "treasury shares" instead. Besides, it can be helpful to understand where the numbers you're looking at came from.

Here's what you need to know about the different share counts that publicly traded companies use, as well as how you can calculate the number of outstanding common shares.

Many different terms for the number of shares of stock
When examining a company's financials, or reading analysis about a stock, you may come across several different terms describing the number of shares of stock that exist for a company. These include

• Float -- The shares that are currently available to be bought and sold by the public.
• Restricted shares -- Shares that cannot be bought or sold without permission from the SEC, generally held by company insiders or institutional investors.
• Issued shares -- The total number of shares a company has ever issued. This includes shares that were made available to be bought and sold by the public, as well as shares bought by or issued to company insiders and institutional investors.
• Outstanding shares -- The total number of shares that are currently available to be bought and sold, as well as shares held by institutions and insiders.
• Authorized shares -- The total number of shares a company could issue.
• Treasury shares -- Shares that a company has bought back and are held in the company's treasury.
• Preferred shares -- A special kind of stock that pays a fixed dividend, much like a bond.

How to calculate outstanding shares
Of these terms, the two that you need in order to determine the number of outstanding shares are issued shares, and treasury shares. Because issued shares refers to the total number of shares a company has created, and treasury shares refers to shares that have been issued but bought back, subtracting these two numbers results in the number of outstanding shares. Generally, both of these figures can be found on a company's balance sheet.

As a real-world example, here is some information from Johnson & Johnson's 2014 year-end balance sheet. The company has 4.32 billion authorized common shares, of which 3,119,843,000 have been issued as of December 31, 2014. Next, 336,620,000 shares were held in the company's treasury at that time, so subtracting this from the number of issued shares means that Johnson & Johnson had 2,783,223,000 outstanding shares at the end of 2014.

The \$15,978 Social Security bonus most retirees completely overlook
If you're like most Americans, you're a few years (or more) behind on your retirement savings. But a handful of little-known "Social Security secrets" could help ensure a boost in your retirement income. In fact, one MarketWatch reporter argues that if more Americans knew about this, the government would have to shell out an extra \$10 billion annually. For example: one easy, 17-minute trick could pay you as much as \$15,978 more... each year! Once you learn how to take advantage of all these loopholes, we think you could retire confidently with the peace of mind we're all after. Simply click here to discover how you can take advantage of these strategies.

The Motley Fool recommends Johnson & Johnson. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

# 1 Key Step to Get Rich

### Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of fool.com.

## For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

## For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at www.fool.com/podcasts.

## But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.