Understanding a fractional share
A fractional share is a part of one share of stock. Fractional shares are often the result of financial decisions or actions by a company. For example, stock splits may result in fractional shares if an investor has an odd number of stocks. If two companies merge, they often combine stocks using an agreed upon ratio that may generate fractional shares. If you reinvest your dividends as part of a dividend reinvestment plan, you could end up with fractions of a share. You normally can’t buy or sell a fractional share on the stock market, but a brokerage firm can bundle several together to make a full share, sell you a percentage to complete your share, or split up full shares to sell fractional shares to new investors. Remember to always be mindful of trading fees, and all investments carry risk.EXAMPLE
Let’s say the fictional company Great Big Giant Co. has a stock that trades for $2,000 a share. A brokerage firm whose clients might like to own a piece of Great Big Giant Co. — but can’t afford even one share at that high price — could offer fractional shares: One-half share for $1,000, or one-quarter share for $500, etc.