All shares constituting ownership of a business, including common stock and preferred stock. The amount of shares that a corporate charter requires to be subscribed and paid, or secured to be paid, by shareholders. The amount of stock that a corporation may issue; the amount actually contributed, subscribed, or secured to be paid on. The liability of the corporation to its shareholders after creditors' claims have been settled. The valuation of the corporation as a business enterprise.
Capital stock is distinguishable from the property and assets of the corporation. The property of a corporation fluctuates and may be greater or less than the original capital invested, but the capital stock remains intact and unaffected by the vicissitudes of business.
Undivided profits, or surplus, are not part of the capital stock, although they are included in the general capital or assets of the corporation.
The capital stock of a corporation serves only corporate purposes. It functions as security for the creditors of the corporation who have relied on its existence, since it cannot be diverted or withdrawn to the detriment of corporate creditors. Capital stock is sometimes regarded as a trust fund.