7) Stocks Basics: How to Read A Stock Quote

Don’t be intimidated upon seeing a stock table like the one below. When you’re done reading this section, you’ll be able to understand the table with relative ease.

Column 1: 52W high – The W represents week. This column highlights the highest prices at which a stock has traded over the past year (52 weeks, this number changes). Previous day’s trading is not included.

Column 2: 52W low – The W represents week. The 2nd column is just the oppposite of the first. It highlights the lowest prices at which a stock has traded over the past year (52 weeks, this number changes). Previous day’s trading is not included.

Column 3: Stock – This column lists the company name and type of stock. If you only see the name without special symbols or letters following the name, it means the type is common stock.  “pf” for instance means preferred stock, while an “a” or “b” behind the ticker symbol represents class A and class b shares.

Column 4: Ticker – The ticker symbol represents or identifies the stock of a company. Each ticker symbol is unique.  A ticker is usually written in uppercase and usually 3 to 4 letters long, although it can be longer. If you’ve wondered what are those symbols and numbers being flashed at the bottom of the screen, then you have seen the ticker tape. Most of the time, ticker symbols are used instead of the full name of the company.

Column 5: Div – The Dividend Per Share column indicates the annual dividend payment per share. If blank, it means that the company does not currently pay out dividends.

Column 6: Yield % – The Dividend Yield column is he percentage return on the dividend. This is calculated as annual dividends per share divided by the price per share.

Column 7: P/E – Stands for Price/Earnings Ratio. This is calculated by dividing the current stock price by earnings per share from the previous four quarters. For more details on this, see our P/E Ratio tutorial.

Column 8: Vol 00s – Is the Trading Volume column shows the total number of shares traded for the day. For the the actual traded volume, add two zeros or “00” at the end of the number listed.

Column 9: High – The high column is the maximum price at which the stock has traded for the entire day.

Column 10: Low – The low column is the minimum price that people have paid for the stock during the day.

Column 11: Close – This is the last trading price recorded before the market closed for that day. When the entire list for that stock is bold-faced, this implies that the closing price is up or down more than 5% than yesterday’s close. As we have previously mentioned, stocks are volatile so do not expect to get the same price if you buy the stock the next day. Be aware that the prices can still change even if the exchange is closed for the day. The close is merely a figure that indicates the past performance of the stock and is generally used as an estimate of what you should expect to pay.

Column 12: Net chg – The net change column is the dollar value change in the stock price from the previous day’s last recorded price. The + and – signs are indicators that the stock went up or went down, respectively. In finance news, you will frequently hear the newscaster saying “up for the day” meaning there was a positive net change.

Quotes on the Internet

The Internet is the number one source for getting stock quotes today. It is regularly updated throughout the day. Any changes can be reflected almost immediately which is a huge help for investors. More information, news, charting, research and etc., can also be gathered from the Internet.

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