The term “penny stock” generally refers to low-priced (below $5), speculative securities of very small companies. While penny stocks generally are quoted over-the-counter, they may also trade on securities exchanges, including foreign securities exchanges. In addition, penny stocks include the securities of certain private companies with no active trading market.
Before a broker-dealer can sell a penny stock, SEC rules require the firm to first approve the customer for the transaction and receive from the customer a written agreement to the transaction. The firm must furnish the customer a document describing the risks of investing in penny stocks. The firm must tell the customer the current market quotation, if any, for the penny stock and the compensation the firm and its broker will receive for the trade. Finally, the firm must send monthly account statements showing the market value of each penny stock held in the customer’s account.
Penny stocks may trade infrequently, which means that it may be difficult to sell penny stock shares once you own them. Because it may be difficult to find quotations for certain penny stocks, they may be impossible to accurately price. Investors in penny stocks should be prepared for the possibility that they may lose their whole investment.