How To Read Stock Quotes

Why be intimidated by the "Money and Investing" section of "The Wall Street Journal," when you can learn how to read stock quotes yourself? Every day the stock market is fluctuating, and many investors are taking advantage of published information regarding stocks and shares. Stock quotes can be translated into normal, everyday data that you can understand and utilize. There are ten basic columns that a stock quote consists of, and each has its own useful detail about the stock.

To read stock quotes, you will need:

  • A copy of "The Wall Street Journal"
  • A stock that interests you
  • Spare time
  1. 52-week hi/lo. This is the highest and lowest price the stock has reached over the course of the last 52 weeks, but not including the current trading day.
  2. Company name. This is simply the name of the company that you are getting a stock quote for.
  3. Ticker symbol. The ticker symbol, made of a series of letters, identifies the stock on the stock exchange's "ticker," as well as on additional stock market databases.
  4. Dividend payment. The annual dividend amount that stockholders will be paid per share is represented by this number.
  5. Percent yield. This percentage stands for an investor's expected dividend return per share. It is found by dividing the annual dividend by its current market value.
  6. Price-earnings ratio (PE). A way of considering a stock's value and performance. It is calculated by dividing the stock's cost by the company's total per-share earnings for the last four quarters.
  7. Trading volume. The trading volume is the total amount of shares traded for the day, listed in hundreds, so add two zeros to the end of the number. If you come across a number that has a "z" in front of it, that means this digit is the actual amount, not in hundreds.
  8. Hi/lo. These numbers reflect the range of price difference for the stock during the current trading day.
  9. Close. This is the final stock quote for the day.
  10. Net change. This compares the difference between the current closing stock quote and that of the previous trading day for the stock.

Now there is no reason to not open up a copy of "The Wall Street Journal," or any daily newspaper, and be able to interpret stock quotes with sheer confidence.

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