Equity Market Meaning & Definition of equity share

14/05/2020 2 By indiafreenotes

Mark Twain once divided the world into two kinds of people:

those who have seen the famous Indian monument, the Taj Mahal, and those who haven’t. The same could be said about investors.

There are two kinds of investors: those who know about the investment opportunities in India and those who don’t. India may look like a small dot to someone in the U.S., but upon closer inspection, you will find the same things you would expect from any promising market. Here we’ll provide an overview of the Indian stock market and how interested investors can gain exposure.

The BSE and NSE

Most of the trading in the Indian stock market takes place on its two stock exchanges: the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and the National Stock Exchange (NSE). The BSE has been in existence since 1875. The NSE, on the other hand, was founded in 1992 and started trading in 1994. However, both exchanges follow the same trading mechanism, trading hours, settlement process, etc. At the last count, the BSE had about 4,700 listed firms, whereas the rival NSE had about 1,200. Out of all the listed firms on the BSE, only about 500 firms constitute more than 90% of its market capitalization; the rest of the crowd consists of highly illiquid shares.

Almost all the significant firms of India are listed on both the exchanges. NSE enjoys a dominant share in spot trading, with about 70% of the market share, as of 2009, and almost a complete monopoly in derivatives trading, with about a 98% share in this market, also as of 2009. Both exchanges compete for the order flow that leads to reduced costs, market efficiency and innovation. The presence of arbitrageurs keeps the prices on the two stock exchanges within a very tight range. 

Trading Mechanism

Trading at both the exchanges takes place through an open electronic limit order book, in which order matching is done by the trading computer. There are no market makers or specialists and the entire process is order-driven, which means that market orders placed by investors are automatically matched with the best limit orders. As a result, buyers and sellers remain anonymous. The advantage of an order driven market is that it brings more transparency, by displaying all buy and sell orders in the trading system. However, in the absence of market makers, there is no guarantee that orders will be executed.

All orders in the trading system need to be placed through brokers, many of which provide online trading facility to retail customers. Institutional investors can also take advantage of the direct market access (DMA) option, in which they use trading terminals provided by brokers for placing orders directly into the stock market trading system.

Settlement Cycle and Trading Hours

Equity spot markets follow a T+2 rolling settlement. This means that any trade taking place on Monday, gets settled by Wednesday. All trading on stock exchanges takes place between 9:55 am and 3:30 pm, Indian Standard Time (+ 5.5 hours GMT), Monday through Friday. Delivery of shares must be made in dematerialized form, and each exchange has its own clearing house, which assumes all settlement risk, by serving as a central counterparty.

Market Indexes

The two prominent Indian market indexes are Sensex and Nifty. Sensex is the oldest market index for equities; it includes shares of 30 firms listed on the BSE, which represent about 45% of the index’s free-float market capitalization. It was created in 1986 and provides time series data from April 1979, onward.

Another index is the S&P CNX Nifty; it includes 50 shares listed on the NSE, which represent about 62% of its free-float market capitalization. It was created in 1996 and provides time series data from July 1990, onward.

Market Regulation

The overall responsibility of development, regulation and supervision of the stock market rests with the Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI), which was formed in 1992 as an independent authority. Since then, SEBI has consistently tried to lay down market rules in line with the best market practices. It enjoys vast powers of imposing penalties on market participants, in case of a breach.

Primary and Secondary Market

Primary Market

Primary market is the place where new shares or bonds are issued. Hence primary market is also called as new issue market. In primary market company sells the shares to investors to generate the fund. In primary market the trading is directly between investors and company. Here the price of share is decided by company and is fixed. In primary market investors can only buy shares, they cannot sell them. Shares purchased in primary market are sold in secondary market. In primary market company can raise the fund by three types that is public issue, private placement or right issue.

Secondary Market

Secondary market is also called as After market. Stock exchange is the secondary market. The stock exchange is the medium through which the exchange of shares, Equities takes place between the seller and the buyer. Secondary market is the place where most of the trading takes place. The trading of shares and capital in secondary market takes place between the buyer and the seller, company is not involved in transactions. The price of share is decided by demand and supply of the shares and price keeps on fluctuating. In secondary market no new stocks are issued, only trading of stocks is there.

Equity Shares

Equity shares are the main source of finance of a firm. It is issued to the general public. Equity share­holders do not enjoy any preferential rights with regard to repayment of capital and dividend. They are entitled to residual income of the company, but they enjoy the right to control the affairs of the business and all the shareholders collectively are the owners of the company.

Features of Equity Shares

  1. They are permanent in nature.
  2. Equity shareholders are the actual owners of the company and they bear the highest risk.
  3. Equity shares are transferable, i.e. ownership of equity shares can be transferred with or without consideration to other person.
  4. Dividend payable to equity shareholders is an appropriation of profit.
  5. Equity shareholders do not get fixed rate of dividend.
  6. Equity shareholders have the right to control the affairs of the company.
  7. The liability of equity shareholders is limited to the extent of their investment.

Advantages of Equity Shares

Equity shares are amongst the most important sources of capital and have certain advantages which are mentioned below:

  1. Advantages from the Shareholders’ Point of View

(a) Equity shares are very liquid and can be easily sold in the capital market.

(b) In case of high profit, they get dividend at higher rate.

(c) Equity shareholders have the right to control the management of the company.

(d) The equity shareholders get benefit in two ways, yearly dividend and appreciation in the value of their investment.

  1. Advantages from the Company’s Point of View:

(a) They are a permanent source of capital and as such; do not involve any repayment liability.

(b) They do not have any obligation regarding payment of dividend.

(c) Larger equity capital base increases the creditworthiness of the company among the creditors and investors.

Disadvantages of Equity Shares:

Despite their many advantages, equity shares suffer from certain limitations. These are:

  1. Disadvantages from the Shareholders’ Point of View:

(a) Equity shareholders get dividend only if there remains any profit after paying debenture interest, tax and preference dividend. Thus, getting dividend on equity shares is uncertain every year.

(b) Equity shareholders are scattered and unorganized, and hence they are unable to exercise any effective control over the affairs of the company.

(c) Equity shareholders bear the highest degree of risk of the company.

(d) Market price of equity shares fluctuate very widely which, in most occasions, erode the value of investment.

(e) Issue of fresh shares reduces the earnings of existing shareholders.

  1. Disadvantage from the Company’s Point of View:

(a) Cost of equity is the highest among all the sources of finance.

(b) Payment of dividend on equity shares is not tax deductible expenditure.

(c) As compared to other sources of finance, issue of equity shares involves higher floatation expenses of brokerage, underwriting commission, etc.

Different Types of Equity Issues:

Equity shares are the main source of long-term finance of a joint stock company. It is issued by the company to the general public. Equity shares may be issued by a company in different ways but in all cases the actual cash inflow may not arise (like bonus issue).

The different types of equity issues have been discussed below:

  1. New Issue:

A company issues a prospectus inviting the general public to subscribe its shares. Generally, in case of new issues, money is collected by the company in more than one installment— known as allotment and calls. The prospectus contains details regarding the date of payment and amount of money payable on such allotment and calls. A company can offer to the public up to its authorized capital. Right issue requires the filing of prospectus with the Registrar of Companies and with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) through eligible registered merchant bankers.

  1. Bonus Issue:

Bonus in the general sense means getting something extra in addition to normal. In business, bonus shares are the shares issued free of cost, by a company to its existing shareholders. As per SEBI guidelines, if a company has sufficient profits/reserves it can issue bonus shares to its existing shareholders in proportion to the number of equity shares held out of accumulated profits/ reserves in order to capitalize the profit/reserves. Bonus shares can be issued only if the Articles of Association of the company permits it to do so.

Advantage of Bonus Issues:

From the company’s point of view, as bonus issues do not involve any outflow of cash, it will not affect the liquidity position of the company. Shareholders, on the other hand, get bonus shares free of cost; their stake in the company increases.

Disadvantages of Bonus Issues:

Issue of bonus shares decreases the existing rate of return and thereby reduces the market price of shares of the company. The issue of bonus shares decreases the earnings per share.

Rights Issue:

According to Section 81 of The Company’s Act, 1956, rights issue is the subsequent issue of shares by an existing company to its existing shareholders in proportion to their holding. Right shares can be issued by a company only if the Articles of Association of the company permits. Rights shares are generally offered to the existing shareholders at a price below the current market price, i.e. at a concessional rate, and they have the options either to exercise the right or to sell the right to another person. Issue of rights shares is governed by the guidelines of SEBI and the central government.

Rights shares provide some monetary benefits to the existing shareholders as they get shares at a concessional rate—this is known as value of right which can be computed as:

Value of right = Cum right market price of a share – Issue price of a new share / Number of old shares + 1

Advantages of Rights Issue:

Rights issues do not affect the controlling power of existing share­holders. Floatation costs, brokerage and commission expenses are not incurred by the company unlike in the public issue. Shareholders get some monetary benefits as shares are issued to them at concessional rates.

Disadvantages of Rights Issue:

If a shareholder fails to exercise his rights within the stipulated time, his wealth will decline. The company loses cash as shares are issued at concessional rate.

Sweat Issue:

According to Section 79A of The Company’s Act, 1956, shares issued by a company to its employees or directors at a discount or for consideration other than cash are known as sweat issue. The purpose of sweat issue is to retain the intellectual property and knowhow of the company. Sweat issue can be made if it is authorized in a general meeting by special resolution. It is also governed by Issue of Sweet Equity Regulations, 2002, of the SEBI.

Advantages of Sweat Issue:

Sweat equity shares cannot be transferred within 3 years from the date of their allotment. It does not involve floatation costs and brokerage.

Disadvantage of Sweat Issue:

As sweat equity shares are issued at concessional rates, the com­pany loses financially.