What is the '52-Week Range'

The 52-week range shows the lowest and highest price at which a stock has traded at in the previous 52 weeks. Investors can find a stock's 52-week range in a stock's quote summary along with other information such as the daily price change and year-to-date change. Companies that have traded for less than a year still show a 52-week range, even though there isn't data for the full range.

The below chart shows U.S. Steel Group’s 52-week range between 2017 and 2018:

Image depicting 52-week range example.


BREAKING DOWN '52-Week Range'

Technical analysts compare a stock's current trading price to its 52-week range to get a broad sense of how the stock is performing relative to the past 12 months, as well as how much the stock's price has fluctuated. This information may indicate the potential future range of the stock and how volatile its price is. Most financial websites that quote a stock’s share price also quote its 52-week range. Sites like Yahoo Finance, Finviz.com and StockCharts.com allow investors to scan for stocks trading at their 12-month high or low. (To learn more, see: Getting Started with Stock Screeners.)

Current Price Relative to 52-Week Range

To calculate where a stock is currently trading at in relations to its 52-week high and low, consider the following example:

Suppose over the last year that a stock has traded as high as $100, as low as $50 and is currently trading at $70. This means the stock is trading 30% below its 52-week high (1-(70/100) = 0.30 or 30%) and 40% above its 52-week low ((70/50) – 1 = 0.40 or 40%). These calculations take the difference between the current price and the high or low price over the past 12 months and then convert them to percentages.

52-Week Range Trading Strategies

Investors can buy a stock when it trades above its 52-week range, or open a short position when it trades below it. Aggressive traders could place a stop-limit order slightly above or below the 52-week trade to catch the initial breakout. Price often retraces back to the breakout level before resuming its trend; therefore, traders who want to take a more conservative approach may want to wait for a retracement before entering the market to avoid chasing the breakout.

Volume should be steadily increasing when a stock’s price nears the high or low of its 12-month range to show the issue has enough participation to breakout to a new level. Trades could use indicators like the on-balance volume (OBV) to track rising volume. The breakout should ideally trade above or below a psychological number also, such as $50 or $100, to help gain the attention of institutional investors. (For further reading, see: How to Use Volume to Improve Your Trading.)

  1. Range

    Range refers to the difference between a stock's low and high ...
  2. High-Low Index

    The high-low index compares stocks that are reaching their 52-week ...
  3. Opening Range

    The opening range is the range of high and low prices that a ...
  4. Breakout

    A Breakout is the movement of the price of an asset through an ...
  5. Failed Break

    A failed break occurs when a price moves through an identified ...
  6. Market Breadth

    Market breadth is a technique used in technical analysis that ...
Related Articles
  1. Trading

    3 Reasons Not to Trade Range Breakouts

    Trading range breakouts is unprofitable for most novice traders. Learn why and discover some alternatives that take advantage of the same chart pattern.
  2. Investing

    Steel Stocks Reach 52-Week Highs on Trump Rally (AKS, NUE)

    Several steel manufacturers soared to 52-week highs on Tuesday, as did the Market Vectors Steel ETF.
  3. Trading

    Watch These Stocks for a Breakout

    These stocks are are tight and will eventually breakout out. Here ways to trade them.
  4. Trading

    Capitalize On False Breakouts In The Danger Zone

    Sometimes you have to be a predator to profit. Find out how to cash in on false breakouts.
  5. Trading

    Four Stocks For Range Traders

    These four stocks are locked in ranges, offering low risk and high reward opportunities if the ranges continue.
  6. Trading

    Breakouts Expected in Tight Ranging Stocks (MU, STX)

    Strong trends followed by a tight sideways channel over the last several weeks makes these stocks good candidates for a breakout trade.
  7. Investing

    Assessing Capital One Stock at 52-Week High (COF)

    Shares of Capital One Financial have been on fire, surging almost 20% in the past three months and 12.4% in 30 days.
  8. Trading

    Watch These 3 Stocks for Breakouts (SAP, ORI)

    These three stocks are close to short-term pattern breakout levels.
  9. Trading

    4 Hot Financial Sector Stocks

    The financial sector has been a top performer of late. Here are four hot financial stocks that are helping propel it.
  10. Trading

    These Stocks Are at Breakout Levels (NVDA, ADSK)

    These stocks have formed strong trading patterns over the last several weeks, and a breakout is becoming more likely.
  1. What is the "percentage off the 52-week high or low"? How is this calculated?

    The "percentage off the 52-week high or low" refers to when a security's current price is relative to where it has traded ... Read Answer >>
  2. How do I identify a stock that is under consolidation?

    Discover the three major characteristics stocks or securities exhibit when they are trading under a period of price consolidation. Read Answer >>
  3. What is the on-balance volume (OBV) formula and how is it calculated?

    Read about the formula and calculation for on-balance volume (OBV), which is a technical indicator showing movements in trading ... Read Answer >>
  4. What's the difference between on-balance volume (OBV) and accumulation/distribution?

    On-balance volume and the accumulation/distribution line are similar in that they are both momentum indicators that use volume ... Read Answer >>
  5. How can I determine a stock's next resistance level or target price?

    Determining where the price of an asset will stop once it has hit a new high is one of the most difficult tasks for any trader. Read Answer >>
Trading Center