Asset class is a group of assets with similar characteristics, particularly in terms of risk, return, liquidity, and regulations.
Equities (stocks) and fixed income (bonds) are traditional asset class examples. There are significant differences between stocks and bonds (different asset classes), such as risk, how they are traded, how they pay income (coupons vs. dividends), or how they are regulated. At the same time, all stocks (assets within the same asset class) share similar characteristics, as do all bonds.
This does not mean that all assets within the same asset class are exactly the same (for example, some stocks are riskier or less liquid than others), but generally the differences within an asset class tend to be smaller than the differences between asset classes.
Click on the links below to learn more about a specific assert class: