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I'm not an expert on that, but how can companies simply issue new stock? Why wouldn't they simply issue billions of shares and dilute everybody else to nothing? (Except for the loss of trust, meaning they would only be able to do that once)? Can they simply issue new stock in any way and amount they want?

Companies issue stock all the time. Ideally, if a company issues, say, $1B in stock, its so they can use that money on projects that will return >$1B in value. In that case, everyone's happy because the dilution in shares in more than counteracted by the increase in revenue.

There are limits - I would assume the SEC has the ability to approve or deny new issuance of shares. If you have 1 million outstanding shares, they would probably frown upon a filing to issue 1 billion more shares.

I don't know the legal specifics but they absolutely can, and do, all the time. It makes the stock sink so it's not something you do uncalculated, but struggling or new companies do this all the time. It's a way to raise capital in the public markets. If people believe in your growth, they'll go along and you might not crash too badly after dilution. And yes, some dilute and pay their executive team handsomely year over year.

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