• Print
  • Default text size A
  • Larger text size A
  • Largest text size A

Equity Trading

Publicly traded stocks fall into different categories, offering various levels of return and opportunities to diversify. You can easily screen these stocks by security type.

Stock screener

Begin with predefined, expert screening strategies that you can fine-tune and save. Or, build a screen using over 140 criteria to focus on the stock characteristics that meet your specific goals.

Start a screen

Common stock

Buy a share of ownership in a public corporation. As a shareholder, you may receive quarterly dividends, which are one way for a company to share its profits. Shares may also appreciate in value, enabling shareholders to realize a profit when those shares are sold.

Depository receipt

Invest internationally with this transferable security that is traded on a U.S. stock exchange but represents a security issued by a publicly listed foreign company.

Unit trust fund

Buy a piece of ownership in a pooled investment, limited partnership, or master limited partnership interest.

A large number of unit trust funds operate in the commodities, natural resources, real estate, and financial services industries.

Real estate investment trust (REIT)

These securities invest in real estate by either purchasing properties directly or holding mortgages. A REIT is required to invest at least 75% of its total assets in real estate and distribute 90% of its taxable income to investors. Types of REIT investments may be available in the following security types:

  • Common stock
  • Depository receipt
  • Unit trust fund
Preferred securities

Invest in these securities and experience the characteristics of both stocks and bonds. Dividends paid to preferred shareholders usually have a higher priority within the issuing company's capital structure than those of common stockholders. So if a company were forced to reduce or suspend dividend payments, common stock dividends would be impacted before preferred dividends.

Start a preferred securities screen.

Closed-end funds (CEFs)

Invest in a variety of securities, much as you would with conventional open-end mutual funds. However, unlike open-end mutual funds, CEFs trade and are priced intraday—like stocks on an exchange—at prices determined by buyers and sellers.

Start a closed-end fund screen.

Variable interest entity (VIE) A VIE is a company in which control is established and enforced through a series of contractual arrangements, rather than through equity ownership. In some countries with restrictions on foreign direct investment, companies may use VIEs as investment vehicles to offer shares to foreigners. However, because ownership of a variable interest entity does not represent true ownership of the company’s assets, investing in VIEs carries additional risks.*


More information

  • Stock Research Center

    Find emerging trends and investment opportunities with comprehensive, independent analysis.

  • Fidelity Learning Center

    Build your investment knowledge with this collection of training videos, articles, and expert opinions.

Get our free mobile app

Keep up with the changing markets, research, trade, & more, wherever you are.

*Risks of investing in VIEs include: Lack of true asset ownership—VIEs do not represent ownership in the company as stock does. In the event of a bankruptcy, owners of a VIE may not be entitled to the assets of the underlying firm; Corporate governance—Because shares in a variable interest entity do not generally entail true voting rights, owners of VIE vehicles may have limited influence over issues of corporate governance; Legal and regulatory—Historically, VIE structures have not been well-tested in court. In the future, there is the risk that foreign courts, regulators, or governments may invalidate them.

Foreign investments involve greater risks than U.S. investments, including political and economic risks and the risk of currency fluctuations, all of which may be magnified in emerging markets.

Changes in real estate values or economic conditions can have a positive or negative effect on issuers in the real estate industry, which may affect the fund.

Preferred securities are subject to interest rate risk. (As interest rates rise, preferred securities prices usually fall, and vice versa. This effect is usually more pronounced for longer-term securities.) Preferred securities also have credit and default risks for both issuers and counterparties, liquidity risk, and, if callable, call risk. Dividend or interest payments on preferred securities may be variable, be suspended or deferred by the issuer at any time, and missed or deferred payments may not be paid at a future date. If payments are suspended or deferred by the issuer, the deferred income may still be taxable. See your tax advisor for more details. Most preferred securities have call features that allow the issuer to redeem the securities at its discretion on specified dates, as well as upon the occurrence of certain events. Other early redemption provisions may exist, which could affect yield. Certain preferred securities are convertible into common stock of the issuer; therefore, their market prices can be sensitive to changes in the value of the issuer's common stock. Some preferred securities are perpetual, meaning they have no stated maturity date. In the case of preferred securities with a stated maturity date, the issuer may, under certain circumstances, extend this date at its discretion. Extension of maturity date will delay final repayment on the securities. Before investing, please read the prospectus, which may be located on the SEC's EDGAR system, to understand the terms, conditions, and specific features of the security.

Closed-end funds are subject to the risk of their underlying assets and investment strategy. Unlike open-end funds, closed-end funds trade on an exchange at a price that is often a discount to their net asset value (NAV). The market price may experience periods of increased volatility due to market and fund illiquidity and the use of leverage.

Unit trust fund is a term used to describe a particular type of investment structure that typically represents an ownership unit in a pooled investment or limited partnership or master limited partnership interest.

Partnerships are considered pass-through entities for tax purposes and therefore have special tax considerations. If you hold units of a partnership, you are generally treated as a partner for tax purposes and will be issued a Schedule K-1 (Form 1065) rather than a Form 1099 for use in filling out your tax return. It lists the partner's share of income, deductions, credits, etc. Certain partnerships may have elected to be taxed as a corporation in the U.S. and will furnish a Form 1099 rather than a Schedule K-1. Please see the partnership website, SEC filings, or most recent shareholder report for further details about tax treatment.

A large number of unit trust funds operate in the commodities, natural resources, real estate, and financial services industries. Other unit trust funds typically represent an ownership unit in a real estate investment trust (REIT).

Stock markets are volatile and can fluctuate significantly in response to company, industry, political, regulatory, market, or economic developments. Investing in stock involves risks, including the loss of principal.

Illiquidity is an inherent risk associated with investing in real estate and REITs. There is no guarantee that the issuer of a REIT will maintain the secondary market for its shares, and redemptions may be at a price that is more or less than the original price paid. Changes in real estate values or economic downturns can have a significant negative effect on issuers in the real estate industry.

Before investing, consider the funds' investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses. Contact Fidelity for a prospectus or, if available, a summary prospectus containing this information.  Read it carefully.