Stocks Markets

ETFs Vs Stocks – Difference

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For many beginning investors, deciding whether to invest in stocks or ETFs can be daunting. This blog post will explore the difference between stocks and ETF funds. We’ll touch on topics such as liquidity, fees, and diversification so that by the end, you’ll better understand which investment is right for you.

Defining Stock

A stock is a type of security that represents ownership in a company. When you buy shares of a company’s stock, you become a part-owner of that business. As an owner, you can vote on corporate matters and receive dividends if the company declares them. 

Stock Classifications

There are two main types of stocks: common stocks and preferred stocks.
Common Stocks

Common stocks represent ownership in a company. When you purchase a share of common stock, you become a partial owner of that company and are entitled to vote on corporate decisions and receive dividends.

Common stocks are more volatile than preferred stocks, which means they have a higher risk of loss, but they also have the potential to generate greater returns over time.

Preferred Stocks

Preferred stocks represent ownership in a company, but unlike common stockholders, preferred shareholders do not have voting rights and do not receive dividends. Instead, preferred shareholders receive fixed payments (called “dividends”) before any dividends are paid to common shareholders. Preferred shares also typically have a higher claim on assets than common shares if a company is liquidated.

However, because preferred shares have fixed dividend payments, they tend to perform worse than common shares when the stock market is rising.

Defining ETF

An Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) is a type of investment fund that trades on a stock exchange and tracks a specific index, commodity, or basket of assets. ETF investing issimilar to mutual funds in that they comprise a pool of underlying investments but trade like stocks on an exchange.

ETF funds can offer investors exposure to various asset classes and investment strategies. They can be used to hedge against specific risks or to pursue targeted investment objectives.

ETF Classifications

There are many different types of ETFs on the market, each with its unique investment strategy. Some popular types of ETF funds include:

Equity ETFs

These funds invest in stocks and are ideal for investors who want exposure to the stock market without picking individual stocks. Some popular equity ETFs in India include the Nifty 50 ETF, the S&P BSE Sensex ETF and the Nifty Bank ETF.

Debt ETFs

Invest in fixed-income instruments, such as bonds and are suitable for investors who want to earn regular income from their investments. Popular debt ETFs in India include the Bharat Bond ETF, the corporate bond ETF and the government securities ETF.

ETFs and Stocks – Similarities

Here are a few of the most important similarities between ETFs and stocks:

  • They’re both regulated by SEBI.
  • They can both be bought and sold on stock exchanges.
  • The prices of both ETFs and stocks are determined by demand and supply.
  • You need a Demat account to invest in either ETF funds or stocks.
  • ETFs and stocks can expose you to various companies and industries.
  • Investors can use stop-loss orders for both ETF investing and stocks.
  • Both ETFs and stocks incur brokerage fees when they are bought or sold.

Stocks and ETFs – Differences

Here are some key differences between stocks and ETFs:

  1. Stocks represent an ownership stake in a company, while ETFs are simply baskets of assets that may track an index, sector or theme.
  2. Stocks can be bought and sold on major exchanges such as the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and the National Stock Exchange (NSE), while ETFs are traded on the stock market like any other security.
  3. Unlike stocks with a finite number of outstanding shares, ETFs can issue new units when demand is high, making them more liquid than stocks.
  4. When you buy a stock, you become a shareholder of that company and are entitled to voting rights and dividends if declared. On the other hand, ETFs do not confer any ownership rights to investors.
  5. Stocks are generally more volatile than ETFs since they are subject to the price movements of the underlying company. ETFs are more stable since they track an index or basket of securities.
  6. Stocks are priced according to supply and demand in the market, while ETFs have a net asset value (NAV) calculated at the end of each trading day.
  7. Due to their lower liquidity, brokerage fees for buying and selling stocks are typically higher than for ETFs.
  8. No minimum investment amount is required for buying stocks, but most mutual fund houses require a minimum investment of Rs 5000-10,000 for purchasing ETF units.
  9. Stocks are subject to capital gains taxes when sold at a profit, while ETFs may be exempt from such taxes depending on the fund’s structure.
  10. Stocks can be more volatile than ETFs since they are subject to the fluctuations of a single company. ETFs tend to be more stable since they are diversified across multiple companies.
  11. If a company goes bankrupt, its stockholders may lose their investment, while investors in an ETF may not lose anything if one of the companies in the basket goes bankrupt.
  12. Stocks represent shares of ownership in a company, while ETFs are baskets of assets that may include stocks, bonds, commodities, or currencies.

What Should You Invest In – Stocks or Exchange-Traded Funds?

Generally, stocks are more volatile than ETFs and offer the potential for higher returns. However, they also come with more risk. ETF investing tend to be more stable and offer lower returns but with less risk.

So, which should you buy? It depends on your investment objectives and risk tolerance. If you’re looking for long-term growth and are willing to stomach some volatility, then stocks may be a good choice. ETF funds may be better if you’re looking for stability and income.


If you’re considering investing in either stocks or ETFs, it’s important to understand their differences. Stocks represent ownership in a company, while ETF funds are baskets of securities that track an index. Both have pros and cons, so research is important before deciding which is right for you.

Visit Piramal Finance, where you can find similar articles and get started in stocks and ETF investing with the help of a professional if you are interested in learning more about ETF funds and/or Stocks.