If you followed the directions from the previous section, your portfolio should now contain 100 shares of WMT and a large cash balance. We will now take this opportunity to explain what each aspect of the portfolio summary means.
Note: If you completed it outside of market hours (9:30am – 4:00pm EST) or on a day in which the real stock markets are not open (such as on the weekend or a major holiday), your Portfolio Summary may not include your WMT purchase at this time. If that is the case, please refer to the sample Portfolio Summary below. Your WMT purchase will appear in your portfolio at the beginning of the next trading day.
Let's start with the main sections at the top of your Portfolio Summary:
Account Value displays the total current value of your portfolio, which is updated nightly after the market's close. It also shows in the brackets which currency (either US or Canadian dollars) the account is denominated in.
Buying Power refers to your ability to make trades and is based on the value of your portfolio and cash position. You cannot make a trade that exceeds your current buying power.
Cash displays the amount of cash you presently have in your account. (*Note that your buying power is a better representation as to how much you can spend on further investments, since the default Investopedia Competition (no end) allows you to trade on margin, which will be explained later on)
Annual Return refers to the percentage of return that you would have earned if your returns were extrapolated for a year.
Next, notice that your Portfolio Summary is divided into three parts: Stock Portfolio, Option Portfolio and Shorted Stock Portfolio. Don't worry about the latter two for now, we'll discuss them in later sections of this guide.
The Stock Portfolio contains the names of all the stocks you have purchased and currently hold. Each position includes the stock's ticker symbol, description (name of the company) and the quantity of shares in each position, which are fairly easy to understand. Furthermore, there are the following subheadings within each position of stock:
Purchase Price displays the original cost per share of your purchase.
Current Price displays the current market value per share. This value will change as time goes on.
Total Value reports the current total dollar value of your holdings. In this case, you bought 100 shares of WMT; therefore the Total Value will be equal to 100 times its Current Price per share.
Today's Change gives the dollar amount and % Change of your gains or losses for each position as a result of today's market activity.
Total Gain/Loss gives the dollar amount and % Change of your gains or losses from when the position was first entered into.
Now that you have learned how to interpret your Portfolio Summary, let's look at how to find other stocks to buy in the next section of this how-to guide.
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