Outstanding Shares Vs. Float: Analyze the Differences

Outstanding Shares Vs. Float: Analyze the Differences
Nakla Team
Fintech Group
Jan 18, 2023
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Last Updated
Feb 21, 2023
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When a company issues stock, its shares are frequently divided. Some shares, usually the majority of them, are made available to the general public. Others are limited because they are owned by the corporation or have distinct regulations concerning how investors can trade them. The discrepancy is stated as the firm's outstanding shares vs. floating stock. Try consulting with a financial professional to enhance your investment results.

This essay will illustrate the distinction between outstanding shares and Float.

Shares outstanding and Float Overview

Shares Outstanding Overview

The quantity of shares that a firm has issued is referred to as its outstanding shares. This figure indicates all of the stocks that may be purchased and sold by the wider populace, along with all of the restricted stocks that must be dealt with specific permission.

Every share of stock in a firm represents a proportion of the firm's corporate ownership. Assume a corporation releases 50% of its entire holdings in the format of 100 shares of stock. In this example, any individual who purchases one share of stock owns 0.5 percent of the firm.

Characteristics of Outstanding Shares 

  • Shares outstanding units must not be more significant than the overall number of authorized shares. Often, the organization issues more shares than the actual issuance number because of the competence and feasibility.
  • It excludes treasury equity, which seems to be stock shares repurchased by the corporation. It also excludes unissued shares.
  • If the firm has issued all of its authorized shares but needs to award additional shares in the upcoming days, it must approve new shares at that time. It necessitates a vote by the board and stockholders, followed by filing a document with regulatory agencies.
  • It can be kept for a small, moderate, or extended period.

Float Overview

Floating stock, often referred to as the "public float," is the number of shares released by a firm for general trade. This shows the firm's total liquidity as it is the number of outstanding shares less the amount of restricted or tightly held shares. To comprehend this, keep in mind that not all shares in the company are treated equally. Firms usually release "restricted" shares and "closely held" shares.

Restricted stock pertains to equity issued by the corporation to its staff and employers. They are employed as a component of pay and incentive schemes to align the worker's values with those of the firm. For instance, if a portion of your salary is paid in shares, the more the firm does, the more you do.

Characteristics of Float

  • The Float of a company's shares can significantly impact the price volatility of its equity. A stock with a lower float is more prone to be impacted by changes in the level.
  • It can be kept for a brief or prolonged period of time.
  • A float stock is a share of a publicly traded corporation offered for purchase or sale by the public at large.
  • Lower float equities can become much more unstable than higher float stocks.

Shares outstanding vs. Float - Key differences

Shares Outstanding vs. Float are prominent market options; let us look at a few of the key differences between the two.

The significant distinction between outstanding shares and floats is that floats are among two factors contained in the number of shares outstanding. Outstanding shares can be derived by adding the Float with the number of restricted shares.

The outstanding shares contain several forms of shares, but the Float only comprises those shares that may be traded. Each firm that issues confined and public shares keep a float of outstanding shares.

It is crucial to analyze the overall outstanding shares since it reflects the highest number of shares that may be exchanged in the market. For instance, if a firm has two million outstanding shares and you possess 200,000, you own 10% of it. It's also worth mentioning that the outstanding shares often determine the share price of a corporation.

On the other hand, it's essential to analyze Float since it shows the number of shares actively traded on a stock exchange. If a business has two million outstanding shares and a float of 10,00,000, only 50% of its stock is accessible for trade. This can significantly influence the stock price since it indicates that there would be less supply and growing pressure on the existing shares.

Private and public corporations can release outstanding shares. On the other hand, floating stock comprises shares issued solely by public firms listed on any of the stock markets.

Shares outstanding vs. Float Examples

Consider Microsoft's shareholder equity. The corporation's balance sheet shows approved stocks, outstanding shares, and floating shares. Microsoft owns the following assets as of January 21, 2021:

Authorized shares: 24 billion 

Shares outstanding: 7.55 billion

Floating shares: 7.54 billion 

The 7.54 billion floating stocks consist of shares that are said to be available for free Float and market cap indices weightage. Microsoft, for example, has a comparatively minor float modification, with a floating proportion of 99.8 percent. That signifies it has a high float: The great bulk of its stock is open to the general investing population.

Let's have a look at another example. Imagine ABC Ltd has 50,000 shares outstanding, from which significant corporations hold 15,000, and some other business, QPR Ltd, acquires 3,000. Other 5,000 shares are owned by the administration (including the CEO). The corporation has also put aside 5,000 shares to be awarded as ESOPs hereafter. ABC Ltd has a floating stock of 22,000 shares in this situation.

Outstanding Shares Vs. Float Comparison Table

ParametersOutstanding SharesFloat
MeaningThe quantity of stocks that a firm has issued is referred to as its outstanding shares. This figure indicates all of the shares that may be purchased and sold by the general public.A float stock is a firm's shares offered to the general public and are accessible for trading on the stock market.
AvailabilityIt consists of all of the firm's shares owned by its investors.Accessible to the general public.
Stock SizeIt accounts for most of the shares issued (Every organization's stock, excluding treasury stocks).It accounts for a small part of the issued stock authorized for trade.
Economic RightsIt grants the power to vote and possession.It will not grant any casting or ownership rights.
CalculationsThe number of shares outstanding is utilized in a range of financial computations, including market capitalization and profits per share.The floating share is solely used to determine financial computations.
Risk AssociatedMinimal risk.Greater risk


Outstanding shares and Float are two critical topics that any investor must know. The number of shares outstanding of a company's stock is the total number of shares held by every stockholder, including insiders. Alternatively, a float is the number of shares accessible for public trade. The Float is vital to understand since it shows the number of shares actively traded on a stock exchange.

Outstanding Shares Vs. Float FAQs

Can Float be higher than shares outstanding?

No, the Float cannot be greater than the overall outstanding shares. The Float comprises shares that may be traded on financial markets. Moreover, it only measures the amount of shares accessible for investing and selling on financial markets; it is often a lower amount. On the other hand, the outstanding shares include the Float plus any limited, tightly, or insider stock. 

Why is Float less than outstanding shares?

When the Float is significantly smaller than the overall shares outstanding, it indicates that insiders, executives, and staff possess a significant portion of the stock. This is typically a good indicator since the insiders trust the firm and share your desire for the stock price to rise.

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.