Public float or free float represents the portion of shares of a corporation that are in the hands of public investors and not locked-in by for example promoters, company officers, controlling-interest investors and government. This number is sometimes seen as a better way of calculating market capitalization because it provides a more accurate reflection rather than the entire market capitalization.[1]

In this context the float may refer to the entire market capitalization of the company or all the shares outstanding that can be publicly traded.[2]

The float is calculated by subtracting restricted shares from outstanding shares. For example, a company may have ten million outstanding shares, but only seven million are trading on the stock market. Therefore, this company's float would be seven million. Stocks with smaller floats tend to be more volatile than those with larger floats. Large holdings of founding shareholders, corporate cross-holdings and holdings of the Government in partially privatized companies are usually excluded while computing this sense of "public float".

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