What you need to know about stocks

What is a stock?

A stock (also known as a “share” or “equity”) represents partial ownership of a company, giving you rights to a piece of the company’s assets and earnings. Stocks are usually issued by companies to raise funds to help the business grow.

Benefits of Stocks

  • High historical performance

    While stocks can go up and down and can represent short-term risk, the market index has historically grown in the long run.
  • Company Ownership

    Owning stock means owning a part of the company, becoming a part of a brand or corporation you believe in. Also, depending on the type of stock, stock ownership may also give you a vote on certain business decisions.
  • Diversification

    Many hold stocks to complement other types of investments, such as bonds or GICs. This can potentially mitigate losses if one investment type drops in value, while adding volatility and profit potential to an otherwise stable, lower-yield portfolio.

Common Stocks vs Preferred Stocks

Stocks are usually issued as either Common or Preferred. While the exact difference can vary depending upon the company who issues them, the two stocks types usually have these distinctions:

Common stock

  • Usually entitles shareholders to vote at shareholders’ meetings
  • Dividends are often lower or more variable than those of preferred stocks
  • Share prices are often more volatile, meaning higher risk and higher potential reward

Preferred stock

  • Usually do not offer voting rights to shareholders
  • Usually entitles shareholders to a higher priority on assets and earnings (they are paid first)
  • Share prices are often less volatile, meaning more stability

Low-fee stock trading with Questrade

At Questrade, you can trade stocks for only 1¢/share1, with a minimum $4.95 and a maximum of $9.95 per trade. For example:

Quantity tradedFee
200 shares$4.95
750 shares$7.50
1,000 shares$9.95
1,500 shares$9.95

How to get started trading stocks

With a Questrade Self-Directed account, you have access to a whole range of tools to help you research and track stocks, and you can place an order from any computer or mobile device with just a couple of clicks.

Open a Self-Directed Account

If you haven’t already done-so, open a self-directed account. This can be either a standard margin account or a tax-advantaged TFSA or RRSP.

Know the stock you want

You probably already have an idea of what you’re looking to invest in. But if you need help finding ideas, we have a suite of research tools and trading platform features to help.

Place your order

You can enter your order with your Questrade platform of choice with just a few simple clicks. To learn how, see our Getting to Know Your New Account webinar.

Open a Self-Directed account

Getting started is easy, and a new account can be set up in a matter of minutes. Just enter your information and transfer some funds into your account. Once your account is live and funded, you’re ready to trade.

Get started trading stocks

Log into your self-directed account to make your first trade. If you’re not sure how, check out our Getting to Know Your New Account webinar.


Get answers to our frequently asked questions

Do I get a physical certificate when I buy a stock?

Stocks have been traded on exchanges since the 1600s, and up until very recently the shares were represented by physical certificates. However, these days, stocks traded over major exchanges are entirely digital.

Can I buy stock in any public company?

It depends. Registered accounts, such as TFSAs and RRSPs, have restrictions to keep the more volatile stocks out of your portfolio.

Is there a minimum amount I need to deposit before buying stocks?

Once your account has at least $1,000 in it, you can start to trade.

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