Floating Stock

What is Floating Stock?

Floating Stock is the total number of shares of the company which is available for the purpose of the trading in the market and it is calculated by subtracting the value of the closely-held shares and value of the restricted stock from the total outstanding shares of the company at that point of time.

In simple terms, it refers to a company’s shares that are bought and sold freely by the public without any restrictions. It is the total number of shares that are available in the market for trading. In simple words, it is the shares available in the open market that a company has to trade.

It indicates the total shares that are actually available in the market for the investors. A company that has a stock with a small float is higher in volatility than a stock with a large float. Investors tend to invest in stocks that have a higher floating stock due to the availability in the market. When the share float is low, it causes obstruction to active trading due to the unavailability or scarcity of the stock in the market. Company’s issue equity or exercise their convertible debtsConvertible DebtsConvertible debt is a type of debt instrument that can be converted at the company's discretion into equity shares. It is a hybrid security since it combines debt and equity features and provides additional benefits to the holder.read more when the share float is low.

Floating Stock Formula

Floating Stock = Outstanding Shares – [Shares Owned by Institutions + Restricted Shares (Management and Insiders Shares) + ESOPs]

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For eg:
Source: Floating Stock (wallstreetmojo.com)

To calculate a company’s floating stock,

Subtract its restricted stock and closely held shares such as those shares employees and significant shareholders own from its total number of outstanding shares.

Outstanding shares are those shares that a company issues and sells to investors.

Restricted stock unit is the share that is restricted temporarily from trading because of the lock-up period after an initial public offering. It is the non-transferable stock of a company.

Closely held shares are the shares that are owned by major shareholders, insiders, and employees.


PQR Inc. has 10 million outstanding shares, out of which 5 million shares are owned by large institutional investors, and 2 million shares are owned by ABC Inc. The management and insiders own 1 million shares, and 400,000 shares are unavailable as these are part of PQR Inc’s Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP). This means 1.6 million shares are Floating Stock.

Floating Stock Example1

= 10,000,000 – (5,000,000 + 2,000,000 + 1,000,000 + 400,000)

= 10,000,000 – 8,400,000

Float = 1,600,000 shares

The percentage of floating stock out of the total outstanding shares for PQR Inc. is 16%.

Many companies like PQR Inc. will issue additional outstanding shares into the open market to raise more capital; when it does, its floating shares will increase as well. But if PQR Inc. decides to exercise a share buyback, it will decrease its outstanding shares and reduce the percentage of shares floating.



  • A stock that has a small floating stock can result in investors refraining from investing due to the scarcity of the stock in the market.
  • It can ward off any investors only because of the number of shares in the market available for trading without recognizing the actual potential of the company.
  • A company may issue additional shares just to increase the floating stock even when the business does not require additional funds, which would result in Stock Dilution, which may dismay the existing shareholders.
  • It is easy to manipulate low float stocks with price action influenced by large orders.

Important Points to Note


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This has been a guide to Floating Stock. Here we provide the definition, formula of floating shares along with examples, advantages, and disadvantages. You can learn more about accounting from the following articles –

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