Stocks Basics: How to Read A Stock Table/Quote
  1. Stocks Basics: Introduction
  2. Stocks Basics: What Are Stocks?
  3. Stocks Basics: Different Types Of Stocks
  4. Stocks Basics: How Stocks Trade
  5. Stocks Basics: What Causes Stock Prices To Change?
  6. Stocks Basics: Buying Stocks
  7. Stocks Basics: How to Read A Stock Table/Quote
  8. Stocks Basics: The Bulls, The Bears And The Farm
  9. Stocks Basics: Conclusion

Stocks Basics: How to Read A Stock Table/Quote


Any financial paper has stock quotes that will look something like the image below:


Columns 1 & 2: 52-Week High and Low - These are the highest and lowest prices at which a stock has traded over the previous 52 weeks (one year). This typically does not include the previous day's trading.

Column 3: Company Name & Type of Stock - This column lists the name of the company. If there are no special symbols or letters following the name, it is common stock. Different symbols imply different classes of shares. For example, "pf" means the shares are preferred stock.

Column 4: Ticker Symbol - This is the unique alphabetic name which identifies the stock. If you watch financial TV, you have seen the ticker tape move across the screen, quoting the latest prices alongside this symbol. If you are looking for stock quotes online, you always search for a company by the ticker symbol. If you don't know what a particular company's ticker is you can search for it at: http://finance.yahoo.com/l.

Column 5: Dividend Per Share - This indicates the annual dividend payment per share. If this space is blank, the company does not currently pay out dividends.

Column 6: Dividend Yield - The percentage return on the dividend. Calculated as annual dividends per share divided by price per share.

Column 7: Price/Earnings Ratio - This is calculated by dividing the current stock price by earnings per share from the last four quarters. For more detail on how to interpret this, see our P/E Ratio tutorial.

Column 8: Trading Volume -
This figure shows the total number of shares traded for the day, listed in hundreds. To get the actual number traded, add "00" to the end of the number listed.

Column 9 & 10: Day High and Low - This indicates the price range at which the stock has traded at throughout the day. In other words, these are the maximum and the minimum prices that people have paid for the stock.

Column 11: Close - The close is the last trading price recorded when the market closed on the day. If the closing price is up or down more than 5% than the previous day's close, the entire listing for that stock is bold-faced. Keep in mind, you are not guaranteed to get this price if you buy the stock the next day because the price is constantly changing (even after the exchange is closed for the day). The close is merely an indicator of past performance and except in extreme circumstances serves as a ballpark of what you should expect to pay.

Column 12: Net Change - This is the dollar value change in the stock price from the previous day's closing price. When you hear about a stock being "up for the day," it means the net change was positive.

Quotes on the Internet
Nowadays, it's far more convenient for most to get stock quotes off the Internet. This method is superior because most sites update throughout the day and give you more information, news, charting, research, etc.

To get quotes, simply enter the ticker symbol into the quote box of any major financial site like Yahoo! Finance, CBS Marketwatch, or MSN Moneycentral. The example below shows a quote for Microsoft (MSFT) from Yahoo Finance. Interpreting the data is exactly the same as with the newspaper.

Stocks Basics: The Bulls, The Bears And The Farm

  1. Stocks Basics: Introduction
  2. Stocks Basics: What Are Stocks?
  3. Stocks Basics: Different Types Of Stocks
  4. Stocks Basics: How Stocks Trade
  5. Stocks Basics: What Causes Stock Prices To Change?
  6. Stocks Basics: Buying Stocks
  7. Stocks Basics: How to Read A Stock Table/Quote
  8. Stocks Basics: The Bulls, The Bears And The Farm
  9. Stocks Basics: Conclusion
RELATED TERMS
  1. Markdown

    The difference between the highest current bid price among dealers ...
  2. Catalyst

    A catalyst in equity markets is a revelation or event that propels ...
  3. Investing

    The act of committing money or capital to an endeavor with the ...
  4. Futures Market

    An auction market in which participants buy and sell commodity/future ...
  5. Capital Markets

    Capital markets are markets for buying and selling equity and ...
  6. Equity Market

    The market in which shares are issued and traded, either through ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. How did the stock market operate prior to the Securities and Exchange Commission?

    The first American stock markets were established in Philadelphia in 1790 and New York in 1792. Trading was largely dominated ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How did Nathan Rothschild become a stock exchange speculator?

    Market maker Nathan Rothschild learned much of his financial savvy from his father, who dealt in coins and paper money. He ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is finance?

    "Finance" is a broad term that describes two related activities: the study of how money is managed and the actual process ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What is the 'Rule of 72'?

    The 'Rule of 72' is a simplified way to determine how long an investment will take to double, given a fixed annual rate of ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What is a stock split? Why do stocks split?

    All publicly-traded companies have a set number of shares that are outstanding on the stock market. A stock split is a decision ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How do I place an order to buy or sell shares?

    It is easy to get started buying and selling stocks, especially with the advancements in online trading since the turn of ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Harry Potter Stock Index

    A collection of stocks from companies related to the "Harry Potter" series franchise. Created by StockPickr, this index seeks ...
  2. Liquidation Margin

    Liquidation margin refers to the value of all of the equity positions in a margin account. If an investor or trader holds ...
  3. Black Swan

    An event or occurrence that deviates beyond what is normally expected of a situation and that would be extremely difficult ...
  4. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  5. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
Trading Center