Market capitalization, commonly called market cap, is the market value of a publicly traded company’s outstanding shares.
Market capitalization is equal to the share price multiplied by the number of shares outstanding. Since outstanding stock is bought and sold in public markets, capitalization could be used as an indicator of public opinion of a company’s net worth and is a determining factor in some forms of stock valuation.
Market cap only reflects the equity value of a company. A firm’s choice of capital structure has a significant impact on how the total value of a company is allocated between equity and debt. A more comprehensive measure is enterprise value (EV), which gives effect to outstanding debt, preferred stock, and other factors. For insurance firms, a value called the embedded value (EV) has been used.
The total capitalization of stock markets or economic regions may be compared with other economic indicators (e.g. the Buffett indicator). The total market capitalization of all publicly traded companies in 2020 was approximately US$93 trillion.
Traditionally, companies were divided into large-cap, mid-cap, and small-cap. The terms mega-cap and micro-cap have also since come into common use, and nano-cap is sometimes heard. Different numbers are used by different indexes; there is no official definition of, or full consensus agreement about, the exact cutoff values. The cutoffs may be defined as percentiles rather than in nominal dollars. The definitions expressed in nominal dollars need to be adjusted over decades due to inflation, population change, and overall market valuation (for example, $1 billion was a large market cap in 1950, but it is not very large now), and market caps are likely to be different country to country.
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