This is a very old basis for disagreement and debate among investors. This will also apply to anyone that is involved in some way with the trading of stocks or mutual funds. There are benefits and risks with each aspect and the choice of what option that can be appeal the most. This depends a lot on what is the individual goal of the person. And which of the two choices is felt would be help that person's investments. To that degree unless one is an expert on the stock market it might require the need to see out some investment help to explain the features of either approach. So that does bring up the question of what is the main difference between the two? This is what each person who invests will have to truly consider.
Essentially with the purchase of a given stock it means investing in a single corporation. If you want to keep your investments simple and with a given firm you know has good success and is stable then this can be a very good option. So perhaps one of the corporations that is well known with a long history of good returns this can be a good place to start as an investor. One such investment can perhaps be a great way to learn the way stocks work and the different aspect to actually buying and selling. And then if you become knowledgeable enough then perhaps it be time to search out companies that are in some growth cycle that will impact the price of stock in a positive way. However, that also means that if for some reason the company has a downturn and their stock falls in value or they go out of business then you can possibly lose your entire investment. So for the person just investing in one company that risk will be one with a good chance of remaining stable because the company is one with a proven track record.
With mutual funds your investment goes into a diversity of stocks with different firms. This gives more options in terms of having risks that are have varied returns and diminishes the concerns over the loss of one 's investments. It might not have the same growth in some case as with a given company, but there are less concerns of one's investment disappearing from a loss.