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Market capitalization (or market cap) is the total value of the issued shares of a publicly traded company; it is equal to the share price times the number of shares outstanding. As outstanding stock is bought and sold in public markets, capitalization could be used as a proxy for the public opinion of a company's net worth and is a determining factor in some forms of stock valuation.
The total capitalization of stock markets or economic regions may be compared to other economic indicators. The total market capitalization of all publicly traded companies in the world was US$51.2 trillion in January 2007 and rose as high as US$57.5 trillion in May 2008 before dropping below US$50 trillion in August 2008 and slightly above US$40 trillion in September 2008.
Market cap terms 
Traditionally, companies were divided into large-cap, mid-cap, and small-cap. The terms mega-cap and micro-cap have also since come into common use, and nano-cap is sometimes heard. Different numbers are used by different indexes; there is no official definition of, or full consensus agreement about, the exact cutoff values. The cutoffs may be defined as percentiles rather than in nominal dollars. The definitions expressed in nominal dollars need to be adjusted over the decades due to inflation, population change, and overall market valuation (for example, $1 billion was a large market cap in 1950, but it is not very large now), and they may be different for different countries. A rule of thumb may look like:
- Mega-cap: Over $200 billion
- Large-cap: Over $10 billion
- Mid-cap: $2 billion–$10 billion
- Small-cap: $250 million–$2 billion
- Micro-cap: Below $250 million
- Nano-cap: Below $50 million
"Cap" is short for capitalization, a measure by which a company's size is classified. Big/Large caps are companies that have a market cap between $10–200 billion dollars. Mid caps range from $2 billion to $10 billion dollars. Small caps are typically new or relatively young companies and have a market cap between $100 million to $1 billion dollars. SmallCap's track record is not as lengthy as that of the Mid to MegaCaps. SmallCaps present the possibility of greater capital appreciation, but at greater risk.
Related measures 
Market cap reflects only the equity value of a company. It is important to note that a firm's choice of capital structure has a significant impact on how the total value of a company is allocated between equity and debt. A more comprehensive measure is enterprise value (EV), which includes debt, preferred stock, and other factors. Insurance firms use a value called the embedded value (EV).
See also 
- Financial ratio
- Free float
- List of finance topics
- List of corporations by market capitalization
- Market price
- Market trend
- Public float
- Shares authorized
- Treasury stock
- "Market Capitalization Definition". Retrieved 2 April 2013.
- "Financial Times Lexicon". Retrieved 19 February 2013.
- Global stock values top $50 trln: industry data (Reuters)
- WFE Report Generator including report for Domestic Market Capitalization 2008 (World Federation of Exchanges)
- "Mega Cap Definition". Retrieved 2 April 2013.
- "Micro Cap Definition". Retrieved 2 April 2013.
- Definition of Market Capitalization
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|Look up market capitalization in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- How to Value Assets – from the Washington State (U.S.) government web site
- Year-end market capitalization by country – World Bank, 1988–2010
- Equity and Bond Capitalizations G20 – Equity and bond capitalization for the G20
- Comparative Explanation - Share Count: Authorized, Outstanding And Float