How to Buy Stocks One Share at a Time

by Mike Parker

Stocks are commonly sold in lots of 100 shares at a time, but there is no requirement for investor to purchase this amount. You can specify the number of shares you wish to purchase, even if that number is a single share. Stock purchases other than round lots are sometimes referred to as odd lots. Your broker can charge an additional fee for purchasing shares of stock in odd lots.

1. Determine the stock you want to purchase. Contact the company's investor relations department and request the company's latest annual report. Read the report to make sure the company's performance corresponds to your investment objectives and temperament. Research any current news that may impact the company's financial results.

2. Contact your broker and enter a buy order for one share of the stock you wish to purchase. You can enter your buy order at the market, which will execute at the current market price, or you can specify the highest price you are willing to pay by entering a buy limit order. Instruct your investments broker regarding whether you wish the stock certificate to be held in street name, or if you want to take possession of the stock certificate.

3. Deposit sufficient funds to cover the cost of your transaction. Commissions to purchase stock will vary based on the type of investments and the brokerage account you use. Full service brokerage firms typically charge the highest commissions, but offer the greatest amount of personalized customer service. Discount brokerage firms typically charge less, but provide a lower level of customer service. Online brokerage accounts usually charge the lowest commissions, but you will usually be required to make your own investment decisions without access to personalized professional advice.


  • There are a number of investment brokerage firms that offer services to those who wish to purchase a single share of stock. Transaction fees from these companies can be considerably higher than purchasing stock through a traditional brokerage firm. You can also purchase shares of stock directly from companies that offer direct investment programs. However, these programs typically involve investing dollar amounts rather than buying a set number of shares, and you may receive more or less than a full share of stock for your investment.


  • Investments in individual stocks are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other federal agency. All stock investments involve some degree of risk, which means you can lose some or all of your investment.

Items you will need

  • An investments brokerage account.

About the Author

Mike Parker is a full-time writer, publisher and independent businessman. His background includes a career as an investments broker with such NYSE member firms as Edward Jones & Company, AG Edwards & Sons and Dean Witter. He helped launch DiscoverCard as one of the company's first merchant sales reps.

Photo Credits

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