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Greetings,

From http://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/float.asp :
"The total number of shares publicly owned and available for trading. The float is calculated by subtracting restricted shares from outstanding shares. "

An example of this to consider is the case of a company that recently had its IPO. Clearly insiders are still holding shares that weren't part of the IPO though these have to be accounted for somehow. Another example to consider is the treasury stock that a company may hold so that if employee options are exercised there is stock for that purpose.

Regards,
JB
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