Market capitalization, often referred to as "market cap," is a financial metric that measures the total value of a publicly traded company's outstanding shares of stock. Market capitalization is calculated by multiplying the total number of a company's outstanding shares by its current stock price. This calculation gives investors a snapshot of the company's overall value as reflected by the market's collective opinion of the company's performance and prospects. Market capitalization is often used as a benchmark for comparing the size and relative value of different companies. Companies with larger market caps are generally considered to be more established and stable, while smaller companies are often seen as having greater growth potential but also greater risk. Market capitalization can also be used as an indicator of market trends and investor sentiment. For example, a significant increase or decrease in the market capitalization of a particular sector or index may reflect changing market conditions or expectations. However, market capitalization has some limitations as a measure of a company's overall value. For example, it does not take into account a company's debt, cash reserves, or other assets and liabilities. As such, investors should use market capitalization as one of several metrics when evaluating a company's financial health and potential for investment.