Why Would a Stock Have No Par Value?

Corporations do this because it helps them avoid liability to stockholders should the stock price take a turn for the worse. For example, if a stock was trading at $5 per share and the par value on the stock was $10, theoretically, the company would have a $5-per-share liability. It used to be that the par value of the common stock was equal to the amount invested (as with fixed-income securities). However, today, most stocks are issued with either a very low par value such as $0.01 per share or no par value at all. In accounting, the par value allows the company to put a de minimis value for the stock on the company’s financial statement.

  • Par can also refer to a bond’s original issue value or its value upon redemption at maturity.
  • By setting the par value at the lowest possible unit of currency, a company avoids any trouble with future stock sales if its shares begin to sell in the penny stock range.
  • A bond is essentially a written promise that the amount loaned to the issuer will be repaid.

In some states, the company may not legally be required to assign this value. The company must indicate the share’s no-par value on the stock certificate or within its articles of incorporation. The only financial effect of a no-par value issuance is that any equity funding generated by the sale of no-par value stock is credited to the common stock account. Conversely, funds from the sale of par value stock are divided between the common stock account and the paid-in capital account. Similar to the coupon rate and par value of bonds, corporations issue preferred stock with a dividend rate calculated as a percentage of the face value. The sale revenues of no-par-value stocks sold by a corporation will only be credited to the ordinary shares account.

No-par vs. Low-par Value Stock

It is significant in determining dividend payments, though not necessarily yield. The market value is the actual price at which the security trades on the open market and the price that fluctuates when yield is reacting to interest rate changes. The key factor in determining the value of the bond is yield to maturity. Yield to maturity determines how much an investor will earn in coupon payments and capital gains by buying and holding a bond to its maturity date. The market will price similar bonds so that they all produce the same yield to maturity. Unlike the market price, the par value of a financial instrument is a stable price determined at the time of issuance.

  • That avoids any potential legal liability if the stock drops below its par value.
  • Similar to bonds, when you buy preferred stock on the secondary market, the effective interest rate changes depending on market value versus par value.
  • Par value is required for a bond or a fixed-income instrument and defines its maturity value and the value of its required coupon payments.
  • However, since companies assign minimal par values if they must, there’s little effective difference between a par stock and a no-par stock.
  • There is no theoretically minimal price at which a firm may sell its stock since certain jurisdictions permit companies to issue shares with no par value.

If the par value per share is not given, it is possible to calculate it. Here, you have to know the amount of common stock outstanding and the balance sheet amount of the common stock. Finally, divide the value of the common stock by the number of outstanding shares. The Munchable Donut Company issues 1,000 employer liability for unemployment taxes shares of its common stock for $15 per share, with a par value of $0.01 per share. As you can see in the visual below, the par value is set by the company and that is what is required to common stock. The difference between the par value and market price is considered additional paid-in capital (APIC).

Par Value vs. Market Value: What’s the Difference?

Again, one should start by looking for the common stock line item in that section. It is mandatory for publicly traded companies to include their individual stocks’ par value in that section somewhere, so you can read through it until you find it. Some states’ laws require or may have required common stock issued by corporations residing in their states to have a par value. If a par value is required, the corporation will likely assign a very small amount per share of common stock.

The par value is also referred to as the corporation’s legal capital. Par value is the value of a single common share as set by a corporation’s charter. Any stock certificate issued for shares purchased shows the par value. When authorizing shares, a company can choose to assign a par value or not. The par value is set by the company’s organization or charter documents. The par value is fixed and does not fluctuate based on the market price of the stock.

Companies like to set a very low par value because it represents their legal capital, which must remain invested in the company and cannot be distributed to shareholders. Another reason for setting a low par value is that when a company issues shares, it cannot sell them to investors at less than par value. A bond that is trading above par is being sold at a premium and offers a coupon rate higher than the prevailing interest rates. Investors will pay more, as the yield or return is expected to be higher. On the other hand, a bond that is trading below par is on a discount trade, has a lower interest rate than the current market and it is sold at a lower price. The total value of assets reported on a company’s balance sheet only reflects the cost of the assets at the time of the transaction.

While the par value of a corporate bond is usually stated as either $100 or $1,000, municipal bonds typically have par values of $5,000. Par value is required for a bond or a fixed-income instrument and shows its maturity value and the dollar value of the coupon, or interest, payments due to the bondholder. Shares can be issued below par value, though doing so would be unfavorable for the issuing company. The company would have a per-share liability to shareholders for the difference between the par value of the stock and the issuance price. By issuing no-par stock, the company relinquishes any determination of value for the stock.

How investors use par value

Therefore, the company will not have a future obligation to shareholders should its stock price decline. The par value of a stock may have become a historical oddity, but the same is not true for bonds. Bonds are fixed-income securities issued by corporations and government bodies to raise capital. A bond with a par value of $1,000 really can be redeemed for $1,000 at maturity. In some states, companies are required by law to set a par value for their stocks.

Companies issue shares of stock to raise equity, and those that issue par value stocks often do at a value inconsistent with the actual market value. This adjustment allows companies to minimize their and the shareholders’ contractual obligations, as par value carries a binding contract between an organization and its shareholders. If a stock has no-par value, a company has not assigned a minimum value for its stock (often at the time of issuance).


The value of the stock is the face value and nominal value of a stock. It is mandatory by law for many companies to state the value of their stocks in their legal documents. Hence, the value of the stock is written in the operating records of the organization or the corporate certificates of the organization. Also, this is the minimum value of the company’s stock on which value the company issues the stock. It does not get changed due to any capital market fluctuation, external demands, or any other reasons. However, the value of the stock can change in case of a share split by the company.

The par value is the minimum price at which a corporation can legally sell its shares, and most are priced below $0.01. The effective interest rate you would get on a bond if you purchased it in the secondary market for more money than par value would be less than the coupon. The effective interest you would receive on a bond if you paid less than the par value would be more than the coupon.

When shares have a par value, the amount shareholders pay for them in excess of par is recorded as paid-in capital on the corporation’s balance sheet. A further difference between the par and no par value concepts can be found in the accounting rules, where the par value of issued shares must be recorded in a separate equity account. Any additional amount paid in excess of the par value is recorded in the additional paid-in capital account. When the separate recordation of par value is not required by state law, then the credit is to a single equity account.

Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years. Volatility profiles based on trailing-three-year calculations of the standard deviation of service investment returns. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Charlene Rhinehart is a CPA , CFE, chair of an Illinois CPA Society committee, and has a degree in accounting and finance from DePaul University. Notably, par value for a bond is different, referring to its face value, or full value at maturity. Thomas J Catalano is a CFP and Registered Investment Adviser with the state of South Carolina, where he launched his own financial advisory firm in 2018.

What Is Par Value on a Stock?

Preferred stock represents equity in a company—a portion of ownership, like common stock. In addition, though, you are entitled to fixed dividend payments, like a bond’s fixed interest payments. Some common stock may also offer dividends, but these are normally at lower rates and are more likely to be foregone if a company has a hard quarter or year.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *