Definition of ‘Blue-Chip Stock’

Stock of a large, well-established and financially sound company that has operated for many years. A blue-chip stock typically has a market capitalization in the billions, is generally the market leader or among the top three companies in its sector, and is more often than not a household name. While dividend payments are not absolutely necessary for a stock to be considered a blue-chip, most blue-chips have a record of paying stable or rising dividends for years, if not decades. The term is believed to have been derived from poker, where blue chips are the most expensive chips.

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Investopedia explains ‘Blue-Chip Stock’

A blue-chip stock is generally a component of the most reputable market indexes or averages, such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq-100 in the United States, the TSX-60 in Canada or the FTSE index in the United Kingdom.

While a blue-chip company may have survived several challenges and market cycles over the course of its life, leading to it being perceived as a safe investment, this may not always be the case. The bankruptcy of General Motors and Lehman Brothers, as well as a number of leading European banks, during the global recession of 2008, is proof that even the best companies may sometimes be unable to survive during periods of extreme stress.

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