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What is the difference between authorized, issued, and outstanding stock?

Common stock or shares of stock can be classified as authorized, issued, or outstanding:

Authorized stock is the max amount of shares that a company can issue. Generally, a company will not issue 100% of the authorized stock, so issued stock will be less than the authorized amount. Issued stock can be held by the company, held by employees, or held by the general public. Outstanding stock represents stock that is held by the general public.

Below is an example of how a company’s stock might look in the various classifications:

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