Float Stock: Why it's Essential to Know About It

Float Stock: Why it's Essential to Know About It
Nakla Team
Fintech Group
Dec 13, 2022
Mins Read
Last Updated
Feb 8, 2023
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Dealing in the stock market is undoubtedly a risky affair. This is why it's critical to conduct extensive research on any business and its shares prior to making final judgments. However, one essential piece of data that requires your extra attention is float. These shares indicate the number of shares a public organization has for trading.

Here's a deeper look at what you understand by floating stock and how it can assist you in planning your investments.

What is Float Stock?

Floating stocks refer to the number of shares of the organization present for trading in the marketplace. It is not the number of shares issued by a corporation since it eliminates tightly held and limited stocks. The stock float simply indicates how many shares are currently available for purchase or sale.

It represents the total number of shares accessible in the marketplace to investors. A corporation with a low float has more instability than a business with a huge float. Subject to market accessibility, investors choose to invest in firms with a more incredible floating stock. 

When the share float is minimal, vigorous trading is hampered due to the stock's lack of availability or rarity on the market. When the share float is low, companies issue stock or execute convertible debt.

The value of a firm's floating stock might change from time to time. This can happen for several causes. For instance, a corporation may sell extra shares to raise excess revenue, increasing the floating stock. When limited or tightly guarded shares become accessible, the floating stock rises as well.

On the other hand, if a corporation chooses to conduct a share repurchase, the number of shares outstanding would fall. In this instance, the floating share proportion of outstanding shares will decrease.

How does Floating stock work?

The amount of a business's floating stock might be helpful to investors since it indicates what proportion of total shares outstanding is held by corporate insiders such as top executives.

A corporation with a small percent of the floating stock in relation to the overall shares outstanding may imply that the equity is hard to acquire and sell. When compared to equities with a high amount of float, there may be moments of low liquidity. When there aren't several shares left, purchasing and trading those that are present may exacerbate the stock's instability. As a result, many major institutional investors may prefer to trade in stocks with a high float.

For instance, a business may own 100 million total outstanding shares. Still common public may have access to only 75 million shares. Therefore, the float is said to be 75 million, or 75% of the overall number of outstanding shares.

So, what all is eliminated from a stock's float?

  • Stock owned by officials.
  • Shares that are held on the organization's book like Treasury stock.
  • Restricted stock limits the capability of the proprietor to trade it in a given tenure.

To sum it up, any share that is not publicly traded may be omitted from the float.

However, defining stock as floated may have some additional complexities, and investors may change their respective float computations depending on various factors:

  • If an individual owns sufficient stock to need a quarterly report with the Securities and Exchange Commission, often over 5% of the outstanding shares,
  • If a significant long-term buyer or an official has kept the stock for an extended period and has no plans to sell it.

The idea underlying these computations is that, akin to insiders with restricted shares, these buyers are unlikely to sell their shares. They can only do so if they notify the public of their transactions. As a result, investors may conclude that such shares are entirely locked up, at least for the time being.

Float Stock Examples

General Electric was estimated to have 8.75 billion outstanding shares as of June 2020. Out of this, 0.13% of the stock was owned by Insiders. Large institutions had 63.61 percent. As a result, 63.7 percent, or 5.57 billion shares, were most likely unavailable for public trade. As a result, the floating stock is 3.18 billion shares.

It is vital to understand that institutions do not retain stocks indefinitely. The share of institutional ownership changes on a regular basis, albeit not usually significantly. Dropping institutional ownership combined with a declining share price might indicate that institutions are liquidating their holdings. Increased institutional ownership indicates that organizations are amassing shares.

Overview of Low Float and High Float Stock

Low float stocks have a minimal number of shares present on the marketplace for trading.

Organizations with a low float sometimes have a significant amount of their stock owned by dominant investors such as directors and staff, leaving just a tiny proportion of the stock accessible for public trade. If demand changes fast, the restricted supply might produce extreme price variations.

Investors may have more trouble finding a buyer or vendor for low float equities since there are lesser shares offered. This may increase their volatility, which attracts day investors. Low float equities typically have a wide bid/ask spread.

High stock float is the inverse of low stock float and shows that the firm has more outstanding shares that may be exchanged on the market. Stock volatility is lower in high stock float because more purchasers and traders are in the open market. Furthermore, there are high liquidity times than low stock floats, making it more appealing to stock investors.


Stock float is an essential factor in determining a firm's shareholder base. If a firm has a low float, it might indicate that it has a solid ownership base with active engagement from its employers and directors. However, a limited float stock may encounter more dynamic and uncertain trading circumstances.

Float Stock FAQs

What is a good stock float?

Traders consider anything exceeding 20 million shares a "good float" by traders. With such quantities, trading may stay high while avoiding illiquidity, which raises instability and the bid-ask differential. Low-float stocks have floats that are less than 20% of all shares outstanding.

Why would a company float on the stock market?

A company float on the stock market as it gives access to the new capital to establish its business. It enables them to provide additional rewards to employees by awarding share options - this can inspire and drive their staff to strive for long-term objectives.

Is high float good?

Stocks with a high float do well in relation to market clearance. With increased volatility, the bid-ask gap narrows, allowing investors to purchase and trade with greater confidence.

Nevertheless, a high float means that the general investing community owns the shares rather than the administrators. As a result, administrators may not have a high enough motivation to perform well.

How many shares are considered low float?

A float of 10-20 million shares usually is considered modest by investors. However, there are firms with floats of less than one million. Some more prominent firms have billions of dollars in float, and perhaps even lower-float stocks can be found dealing on over-the-counter platforms.

How to check the float of a stock?

To check the stock float, you need to subtract the limited stock and nearly owned shares from the overall number of shares outstanding. Floating stocks will vary from time to time as new shares can be released, shares can be purchased back, or significant shareholders may purchase or trade the stock.

Where to find the float of a stock?

This information is available via a firm's public filings, numerous stock portals that focus on this data, and sometimes list-style pieces from investment websites. In the latter scenario, you may examine how the site obtains its evidence to confirm the accuracy of the data it gives.

Nakla Team
Nakla Team

Nakla team aims to provide their customers with all the latest happenings in the financial market and keep them updated with trending terminologies. We have the resources that help you upgrade your investment game and make your investment journey seamless.