And one of the key pieces of info that you have to pay attention to is the public float. The float refers to the total shares a company has set aside for trading. So let’s answer the question “What does public float mean?” and how to find float of a stock.
What Does Public Float Mean and Why Does It Matter?
The public float refers to the portion of a company’s shares that are owned by public investors. It doesn’t include the locked-in shares owned by governments, controlling-interest investors, company officers, and promoters.
The percentage of float offers a better method of calculating market capitalization. And that’s because it gives you a true reflection of how the public considers the firm to be worth. In simple terms, free float or public float stock refers to the shares being traded publicly.
Knowing the public float matters since the shares of a firm with a huge float are less volatile than the one with a small float.
Calculating the Percentage of Float for a Stock
You can find float by subtracting the locked-in shares from a company’s outstanding stocks. For instance, if a firm has 20 million outstanding shares and 7 million in locked position. Then the company’s float is 13 million shares.
You can multiply this percentage of float by the share price to get the value of the public float. The percent of float can help you determine the volatility of a stock. After all, stocks with lower floats tend to be more volatile than the ones with large floats.
When calculating the float, we should exclude government holdings in privatized firms and corporate cross-holdings.
Exploring the Importance of Float Short Percentage
Float short refers to a percentage of stock short sellers have already borrowed from the public float. When shorting a stock, you’re going against long traders. Basically, you’re borrowing shares to sell them later. So you’re betting that the price of the shares will drop.
To get the short float percentage, you’ll take the short float and then divide it by the public float and multiply the result by 100. This percent of float short can show you a lot about the company.
It’s the measure of sentiments; remember, you’ll have to pay interest on the short float. If the short float is higher, you’ll know that traders believe that the stock’s price will go lower.
How to Find the Float of a Stock
As aforementioned, low-float stocks tend to be quite volatile. So you need to know how to find the stock’s float, as it can create great opportunities. Luckily, there are several tools you can use to find the float of a stock. For instance, Thinkorswim has a unique scanner that traders use to find the float.
You can filter the results using a wide range of parameters, including float, volume, or float percentage. If your main goal is finding low-float stocks, you can pick stocks with a float value of less than 20 million.
With the scanner, you can get a list of the shares traded as per float quantity and pick the one that works with your strategy.
Unveiling the Factors Influencing the Public Float
Generally, a public float is influenced by a wide range of factors, including the company. Remember, selling a company’s stock is the best way to raise capital. So a company can increase public float by stock splitting or introducing a secondary offering.
Unfortunately, splitting the stocks can affect its volatility in the market. Another thing that can affect float is the number of closely-held shares or restricted shares. Therefore, a company can unrestrict the restricted stock to increase the quantity of the free float.