Equities

The simple and easy way to trade and invest.

At Scotia iTRADE®, we believe investing should be simple. That's why we offer tools that make it easy for you to invest in stocks.

Choose from a wide variety of stocks

  • Invest in stocks listed on major North American exchanges
  • Pick from stocks sold over-the-counter in Canada and the U.S.

Take advantage of intuitive, easy to use tools

  • Get real-time quotes
  • Search by symbol or company name
  • Get hundreds of detailed analyst research reports1 covering stocks in all major sectors
  • Access detailed fundamental and technical analysis

To learn how to get a quote or place an order, visit Trading Basics.

Each share of stock represents a unit of ownership in a public corporation. Owners are typically entitled to vote on the selection of directors and other important matters. In some cases shareholders are entitled to receive dividends on their holdings. In the event that a corporation is liquidated, the claims of secured and unsecured creditors and owners of bonds and preferred stock take precedence over the claims of those who own common stock. However, common stock usually has more potential for appreciation than these other securities.

Equity Features

There are several reasons to consider owning stocks.

  • Capital Gains
  • Cash Dividends
  • Payout ratio
  • Dividend yield
  • Stock Dividends
  • Stock Split
  • Voting Rights
  • Limited Liability
  • Liquidity

Where Equities Trade

In North America, the securities markets are separated into two major market categories: primary and secondary.

  • The Primary Market is where a company sells their shares to the public for the first time in an Initial Public Offering (IPO). These sales are managed by an underwriting group and the company itself generally receives the proceeds from an IPO.
  • The Secondary Market, which includes the stock exchanges and the Over-The-Counter (OTC) market, is where trades are made between investors in shares which are publicly traded. To view the Scotia iTRADE Policy on Multiple Marketplace Trading please click here.

A broker is a regulated firm that acts on your behalf, as your "agent," when you buy and sell securities, in effect putting you in touch with the other half of the trade you want to make. And for that service, the broker charges you a commission. Scotia iTRADE usually acts as an agency broker and depending on the type of trade you make, Scotia iTRADE charges you a commission. Please see Pricing Information.

A broker can also act as a "principal" when you purchase or sell securities, actually taking stock out of its own dealer inventory and selling it to you, or buying it from you when you wish to sell. Normally, in this transaction, the broker charges an investor a net price which includes a "markup" on shares purchased or a "markdown" on shares sold, or the broker charges a commission for the trade. Scotia iTRADE does not generally trade as principal in respect of client transactions.

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American depositary receipts

Certificates issued by a U.S. Depositary Bank, representing foreign shares held by the bank, usually by a branch or correspondent in the country of issue. One ADR may represent a portion of a foreign share, one share or a bundle of shares of a foreign corporation. If the ADR's are "sponsored" the corporation provides financial information and other assistance to the bank and may subsidize the administration of the ADR's. "Unsponsored" ADR's do not receive such assistance. ADR's carry the same currency, political and economic risks as the underlying foreign share; the prices of the two, adjusted for various factors, are kept essentially identical by arbitrage. American Depositary Shares (ADS) are a similar form of certification.

Analyst

Employee of a brokerage or fund management house who studies companies and makes buy and sell recommendations on their stocks. Most specialize in a specific industry.

Annual Report

Yearly record of a publicly held company's financial condition. It includes a description of the firm's operations, its balance sheet and income statement. Regulators require that it be distributed to all shareholders. In the US, a more detailed version is called a 10-K.

Arbitrage

Profiting from differences in the price of a single security that is traded on more than one market.

Bear

An investor who believes a stock or the overall market will decline. A bear market is a prolonged period of falling stock prices, usually by 20% or more.

Beta (Stocks)

Measure of a stock's risk in relation to the market. 0.7 means a stock price is likely to move up or down 70 % of the market change; 1.3 means the stock is likely to move up or down 30 % more than the market.

Bid Price

The highest price a prospective buyer or dealer is willing to pay.

Bull

An investor who thinks the market will rise.

Bulletin Board Stocks

Certain stocks not specifically authorized to trade within NASDAQ which were originally printed by the National Quotation Bureau in a daily publication called the pink sheets. Prices given for these stocks may not accurately reflect the most current market conditions for the stock.

Buyout

Purchase of a controlling interest (or percent of shares) of a company's stock. A leveraged buyout is done with borrowed money.

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Capital Gains

If your company's stock price increases, you will be presented with the opportunity for a "capital gain" which is the profit between what you originally paid for the stock and the higher price you sell it for.

Cash Dividends

Cash dividends represent the stockholders' share of the company profits. Companies are not legally bound to pay dividends and many companies do not for various reasons. However, if a company does pay out dividends, they are usually paid out once each quarter. Dividends are frequently discussed in terms of "payout ratio" and "yield."

Closing Purchase

A transaction in which the purchaser's intention is to reduce or eliminate a short position in a stock, or in a given series of options.

Confirmation

The written statement that follows any "trade" in the securities markets. A confirmation is issued immediately after a trade is executed. It spells out settlement date, terms, commission, etc.

CUSIP number

The Committee on Uniform Security Identification Procedures was established under the auspices of the American Bankers Association to develop a uniform method of identifying municipal, government and corporate securities.

Day order

An order to buy or sell stock that automatically expires if it can't be executed on the day it is entered

Dividend

Distribution of a portion of a company's earnings, cash flow or capital to shareholders, in cash or additional stock.

Dividend yield

Is calculated by dividing the annual dividend payment by the per share price you paid for the stock. Thus, if you paid $10 per share and received $0.20 in dividends, your dividend yield would be 2 percent.

Exchange

The marketplace in which shares, options and futures on stocks, bonds, commodities and indices are traded. Principal Canadian stock exchanges are: Toronto Stock Exchange (TMX Group), and the TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV). Principal US stock exchanges are: New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASDAQ).

Ex-dividend date

The first day of trading when the seller, rather than the buyer, of a stock will be entitled to the most recently announced dividend. A stock that has gone ex-dividend is marked with an x in newspaper listings on that date.

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Good 'til cancelled

Sometimes simply called "GTC", it means an order to buy or sell stock that is good until you cancel it. Brokerages usually set a limit of 30-60 days, at which time the GTC expires if not re-entered.

Initial public offering (IPO)

A company's first sale of stock to the public. Securities offered in an IPO are often, but not always, those of young, small companies seeking outside equity capital and a public market for their stock.

Limit order

An order to buy a stock at or below a specified price or to sell a stock at or above a specified price. For instance, you could tell a broker "Buy me 100 shares of xyz Corp at $8 or less" or to "sell 100 shares of xyz at $10 or better."

Limited liability

If you hold common shares you cannot be held personally liable for the debts or for the actions of a company in which you invest, and generally cannot lose more than the amount of your investment even if the company goes bankrupt.

Liquidity

The degree to which a security can be bought or sold, without affecting the market price. Something which trades frequently and with high volume is more liquid than something which trades infrequently or with little volume.

Market capitalization

The total dollar value of all outstanding shares. Computed as shares multiplied by current market price. It is a measure of corporate size.

Market order

An order to buy or sell a stock at the price which is current when the order is executed.

Over-the-counter (OTC)

A security which is not traded on an exchange, usually due to an inability to meet listing requirements, is said to trade Over-The-Counter. For such securities, broker/dealers negotiate directly with one another over computer networks and by phone, and in the US the NASD monitors their activities. See also OTC Bulletin Board, Pink Sheets and Bulletin Board Stocks.

OTC bulletin board

An electronic quotation system for unlisted, non-Nasdaq, over-the-counter securities

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Payment Date

Date on which a declared stock dividend or a bond interest payment is scheduled to be made.

Payout Ratio

Is calculated by dividing the annual dividend payment by the annual earnings per share. For example, if ABC Company had earnings per share of $1.00 and paid out $0.05 per quarter or $0.20 annually in dividends, its payout ratio would be 20 percent.

Pink sheets

A daily listing of bid and ask prices for over-the-counter stocks not included in the daily NASDAQ over-the-counter listings, published by the National Quotation Bureau and used by brokerages.

Prospectus

Formal written document to sell securities that describes the plan for a proposed business enterprise, or the facts concerning an existing one, that an investor needs to make an informed decision. Prospectuses are used by Mutual Funds to describe the fund objectives, risks and other essential information.

Proxy

Document intended to provide shareholders with information necessary to vote in an informed manner on matters to be brought up at a stockholders' meeting. Includes information on closely held shares. Shareholders can and often do give management their proxy, representing the right and responsibility to vote their shares as specified in the proxy statement.

Record date

Date by which a shareholder must officially own shares in order to be paid a dividend or other distribution. For example, a firm might declare a dividend on Nov 1, payable Dec 1 to holders of record Nov 15. Once a trade is executed an investor becomes the "owner of record" on settlement date, which currently occurs 3 business days after the trade date for securities.

Reverse stock split

A proportionate decrease in the number of shares, but not the value of shares of stock held by shareholders. Shareholders maintain the same percentage of equity as before the split. For example, a 1-for-3 split would result in stockholders owning 1 share for every 3 shares owned before the split. A firm generally institutes a reverse split to boost its stock's market price and attract investors.

Rights offering

Issuance of "rights" to current shareholders allowing them to purchase additional shares, usually at a discount to market price. Shareholders who do not exercise these rights are usually diluted by the offering. Rights are often transferable, allowing the holder to sell them on the open market to others who may wish to exercise them. Rights offerings are particularly common to closed end funds, which cannot otherwise issue additional common stock.

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SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission, the US primary federal regulatory agency of the securities industry.

Selling short

If an investor thinks the price of a stock is going down, the investor could borrow the stock from a broker and sell it. Eventually, s/he must buy the stock back on the open market. For instance, you borrow 1000 shares of XYZ on July 1 and sell it for $8 per share. Then, on Aug 1, you purchase 1000 shares of XYZ at $7 per share. You've made $1000 (less commissions and other fees) by selling short. Selling short involves greater risk than simply purchasing shares first and selling them at a later date.

Settlement date

The month, day, and year the transaction will settle. As per industry standards, settlement occurs 3 days after the transaction date ("T+3") for Equities.

Share repurchase

Program by which a corporation buys back its own shares in the open market. It is usually done when the company thinks its shares are undervalued. Since it reduces the number of shares outstanding and thus increases earnings per share, it tends to elevate the market value of the remaining shares held by stockholders.

Short sale

Selling a security that the seller does not own but is committed to repurchasing eventually. It is used to capitalize on an expected decline in the security's price.

Sock dividends

Companies sometimes pay out dividends in stock. For example, if the company declares a 10% stock dividend that means that the number of shares you own will be increased by 10%. Although you are getting additional shares, you must remember that your total ownership of the company has not increased. The proportionate ownership of all shareholders has been increased equally by 10 percent. Another point to keep in mind is that unlike cash dividends, stock dividends are not necessarily taxed in the same way as cash dividends.

Stock split

Companies frequently increase or decrease their number of shares outstanding by splitting the stock. An example explains the process best. Say you own 200 shares of ABC Inc., which has 100,000 shares outstanding, trades on the NYSE for $80 per share, and earns $4.00 per share. Then ABC declares a 2 for 1 split. You will now get one additional share of ABC for each share that you already own for a total of 400 shares. At the same time, ABC will now have 200,000 total shares outstanding and all of its applicable ratios will be divided by this higher number. For example, its earnings per share will be $2.00 and its price will be $40.00. In other words, the total pie is the same size, it's merely been divided into smaller pieces.

Stop loss order

An order to sell a stock when the price falls to a specified level.

Trade date

The date on which a trade occurs. Trades generally settle (are paid for) 1-3 business days after the trade date. With stocks, settlement is generally 3 business days after the trade date.

Voting rights

You can vote on company issues such as electing the board of directors and issuing new securities. In most cases, you will receive a ballot form, known as a "proxy" that you can mail back to the company.

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We believe in providing you with a wealth of information to help you make the best decisions when it comes to your trades and investments.

Our additional resources include:

  • Business/Financial news from Reuters, Midnight Trader, Canada Newswire, CCNMatthews, AP Online, PR Newswire, EDGAR Online
  • Level II quotes on TSX and TSX Venture-listed securities
  • Technical charts and analysis
  • Live and archived earnings calls as companies announce their financial results
  • Stock Screener Tools - Define custom criteria to narrow the universe of stocks
  • Scotia iTRADE Alerts - E-mail and SMS alerts which provide automatic notification when a Technical, Price, Volume or Market Event occurs, enabling you to respond faster to changes in market conditions and make more educated and timely decisions about your investments
  • Advanced order types – Gives you flexibility when placing your trades, along with choices to suit your particular trading style. Advanced order types include Extended Hours, Stop and Trailing Stop orders
  • 1All research, analysis, charting, reports, estimates, commentary, information, strategies, data, opinions and news (collectively, the "Research") are provided to you for general informational purposes only and do not address the circumstances of any particular investor. Except for Scotia Global Banking and Markets research, all Research has been prepared and supplied by independent third parties that are not affiliated with Scotia Capital Inc. or any of its affiliates, and accordingly may not have been, and no representation is made that such Research has been, prepared in accordance with Canadian disclosure requirements. Neither the Research nor the profiles of the third party research providers have been endorsed or approved by Scotia Capital Inc., and Scotia Capital Inc. is not responsible for the content thereof or for any third party products or services. Scotia Global Banking and Markets research is provided by Scotia Capital Inc. Scotia iTRADE is a division of Scotia Capital Inc. Scotia Capital Inc. and/or its affiliates may have acted as financial advisor and/or underwriter for certain of the corporations mentioned in the Research and may have received and may receive remuneration for same. Scotia Capital Inc., its affiliates and/or their respective officers, directors and/or employees may from time to time acquire, hold or sell securities mentioned as principal or agent. Nothing in the Research constitutes a recommendation by Scotia Capital Inc. to buy, sell or hold any security discussed therein, and the Research neither is, nor should be construed, as an offer, or a solicitation of an offer, to buy or sell securities by Scotia Capital Inc. Scotia Capital Inc. does not make any determination of your general investment needs and objectives, or provide advice or recommendations regarding the purchase or sale of any security, financial, legal, tax or accounting advice, or advice regarding the suitability or profitability of any particular investment or investment strategy. You will not solicit any such advice from Scotia iTRADE and in making investment decisions, you will consult with and rely upon your own advisors and not Scotia iTRADE. You are fully responsible for any investment decisions that you make and any profits or losses that may result. Any opinions, views, advice or other content provided by a third party are solely those of such third party, and Scotia Capital Inc. neither endorses nor accepts any liability in respect thereof. No endorsement or approval by Scotia Capital Inc. or any of its affiliates of any third party product, service, website or information is expressed or implied by any information, material or content contained in, available through, included with, linked to or referred to in the Research, on the Scotia iTRADE website or in any other Scotia iTRADE communication. Neither Scotia Capital Inc. nor its affiliates accept any liability for any investment loss arising from any use of the Research or its contents.