WHAT IS 'Unchanged'

Unchanged refers to a situation in which the price or rate of a security is the same between two periods. This can be over any time frame including a trading day, week or even as much as a year. Unchanged is a term used universally among equity, fixed-income, futures and options markets. The term also applies to indexes, exchange-traded funds and the net asset value of mutual funds.

While it is possible to note an unchanged price between two random times, say 3 p.m on a Thursday and then at 10:15 a.m. the following Tuesday, most investors and traders focus on either unchanged intra-day prices, or unchanged closing prices over multiple trading days.


Unchanged intraday prices are more common for securities that are fairly illiquid and generally less popular, such as closed-end funds, microcap stocks and interests in private companies that do not trade on major exchanges. Certain exchange-traded funds are also thinly traded and could be more likely to have unchanged prices.

Conversely, very few stocks on the S&P 500 end a typical day unchanged, or where the session’s opening price and closing price are identical, even during periods of relative market calm.

When choosing two random points on a price chart, it is often possible to hand-select two price points at which prices are identical. In this case, the holding period return between these points will be unchanged. However, this will not take into account the range of peak-to-trough price movements. That is to say, an investor’s return, excluding fees and expenses, is unchanged, but the security price likely moved around quite dramatically between those two points.

Examples of Unchanged

For example, say West Texas Intermediate crude, known as WTI, traded at precisely $70.32 at two particular market closes in both October 2008 and May 2018. The holding period return between these two points in time is unchanged. This may be useful to know for an investor who held a long-term futures contract during this precise time frame.

The peak-to-trough price of oil moved dramatically between these two points in time, however, as did underlying supply-and-demand conditions. WTI prices soon crashed to less than $40 in January 2009 amid the Great Recession, climbed back above $100 a barrel in May 2011, then roughly moved sideways until July 2014. Then, prices plunged below $30 in February 2016 as shale-oil extraction lifted inventories, before finally getting back to $70 in May 2018 as those inventories ebbed and inflation began to creep higher.

Through all these gyrations, the holding period return, excluding fees and expenses, is still unchanged.

  1. Price Change

    A price change indicates a new valuation has been made on the ...
  2. Earnings Multiplier

    The earnings multiplier relates a company's current stock price ...
  3. Change

    For an options or futures contract, change is the difference ...
  4. Activity Cost Pool

    An activity cost pool is an aggregate of all the costs associated ...
  5. Cost-Plus Contract

    An agreement to pay a company for a job based on the amount of ...
  6. Put

    An option contract giving the owner the right, but not the obligation, ...
Related Articles
  1. Trading

    Explaining Buy Limit Orders

    A buy limit order allows traders and investors to specify the price that they are willing to pay for a security, such as a stock.
  2. Trading

    Trading Multiple Time Frames In FX

    This is often the first - and most costly - level of analysis to be overlooked.
  3. Insurance

    How Does Reinsurance Work?

    Reinsurance is a practice in which insurers transfer portions of portfolios to other parties in order to reduce their exposure to claims.
  4. Investing

    Explaining Forward Price-to-Earnings Ratio

    The estimated P/E of a company is often used to compare current earnings to estimated future earnings.
  5. Trading

    Stock Analysis: Forecasting Revenue and Growth

    Revenue and growth projections are important components of security analysis, measuring a stock’s future worth.
  6. Investing

    What's Accrued Interest?

    Accrued interest has two meanings. In accounting, it is interest that has been earned, but the time for payment has not yet occurred.
  7. Investing

    How Mutual Funds Affect Stock Prices

    Find out how mutual fund trading activity -- and that of other institutional investors -- impacts stock prices, including both short and long-term effects.
  8. Trading

    Best Time(s) of Day, Week & Month to Trade Stocks

    Is 9:00am or Noon better to buy stock? Best day? What about best month? Here's how time affects trading decisions based on daily, weekly and monthly trends
  1. How can a company buy back shares to fend off a hostile takeover?

    Learn about why a business might use a stock buyback to thwart a hostile takeover attempt by reducing its total assets and ... Read Answer >>
  2. What is the difference between capital gains and investment income?

    Learn about the difference between capital gains and other types of investment income, such as dividends paid on stock or ... Read Answer >>
  3. How can a company raise its asset turnover ratio?

    Find out more about the asset turnover ratio, what it measures, how to calculate the ratio and how a company could increase ... Read Answer >>
  4. How to calculate a stock's adjusted closing price

    When the day's trading is done, all stocks are priced at close. The adjusted closing price accounts for any distribution ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Inflation

    Inflation is the rate at which prices for goods and services is rising and the worth of currency is dropping.
  2. Discount Rate

    Discount rate is the interest rate charged to commercial banks and other depository institutions for loans received from ...
  3. Economies of Scale

    Economies of scale refer to reduced costs per unit that arise from increased total output of a product. For example, a larger ...
  4. Quick Ratio

    The quick ratio measures a company’s ability to meet its short-term obligations with its most liquid assets.
  5. Leverage

    Leverage results from using borrowed capital as a source of funding when investing to expand the firm's asset base and generate ...
  6. Financial Risk

    Financial risk is the possibility that shareholders will lose money when investing in a company if its cash flow fails to ...
Trading Center