What it is:
Issued shares include all shares that are currently owned by stockholders, company officials, and investors in the public domain. Issued shares do not include shares repurchased by a company.
How it works (Example):
Issued shares include stock owned by the firm's shareholders and owners. Treasury stock-- shares that are repurchased by the company-- are not considered issued shares. Unissued shares, as the name suggests, are also not considered issued shares.
The number of issued shares is listed on a company's balance sheet as "Capital Stock" and is reported on the company's quarterly filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The number of issued shares can also be found in the capital section of a company's annual report.
Why it Matters:
Issued shares are included in the calculation of market capitalization (issued shares multiplied by current share price) and earnings per share (EPS calculated as issued shares divided by earnings), two major measures of a company's value and performance used by investors. Note that these formulas will generally use the term outstanding shares instead of issued shares.