A certificate (or electronic or other record) that indicates ownership of a portion of a corporation; a share of stock. Preferred stock promises its owner a dividend that is usually fixed in amount or percent. Preferred shareholders get paid first out of any profits. They have preference. Common stock has no preference and no fixed rate of return. Treasury stock was originally issued to shareholders but has been subsequently acquired by the corporation . Authorized by unissued stock is stock which official corporate action has authorized but has not sold or issued. (Stock also means the stock of goods, the stock on hand, the inventory of a company.)