Stock Market Basics: Reading a Stock Table

A generic image of a stock chart
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Reading a stock table is a way to gain insight into the performance of a particular stock's performance. Viewing a stock table can help you determine if you want to invest in that stock or not. However, if you are unable to properly read a stock table your decision may not be a good one.

Stock tables can vary dependent on where you see them, but most stock tables feature the following:

52 Week High: The highest price the stock has reached over the last 52 Week period (year). This price might have held for a few minutes or a few days.

52 Week Low: The lowest price the stock has reached over the last 52 Week period (year). Again, the price could represent a minute in time or a price that held for a few days.

52 Week Range: Details the lowest price the stock reached and the highest price the stock reached over the past 52 weeks. Simply displays the 52 Week Low and 52 Week High within one component.

Name and Ticker Symbol: Usually the name of the company the stock represents will be visible within a stock table, but it is a certainty the ticker symbol will be represented. Ticker symbols are viewed as abbreviations of the company name, though usually represent the company in some way.

Exchange: The market the stock is sold on is also defined.

Dividend: This information details the amount you will receive in a dividend per year, per share of stock. If the dividend column shows 1.00 that means you will earn $1 per every share of stock, per year. The dividend can be paid out monthly, quarterly, yearly or in other time frames.

Yield: The percentage of the dividend to the current stock price. Investors always seek high yield stocks, as dividend payments are another form of earnings.

Dividend and Yield can sometimes be defined within one column.

Volume: The amount of shares traded that day. This generally shows an interest to buy and sell in a company.

Average Volume: This amount shows the average volume over a period of time, such as 3 months, 6 months or a year. This amount gives a more long term display of how the stock is trading.

P/E: Often referred to as Price per Earnings, Earnings Multiple or just Multiple. This figure represents the ratio between the price of the stock and the earnings of the company. This number is often a strong indicator in determining whether or not a stock holds good value.

Previous Close: The amount the stock price was at the previous day's close.

Open: The amount the stock price was at the open of the market.

Day's Range: The price fluctuations of the stock on that particular day.

Beta: The figure that expresses the volatility involved with a stock's price. The higher the beta is, the more likely the stock price will fluctuate with the market.

Bid: The stock price current buyers are willing to pay.

Ask: The stock price current stockholders are willing to sell for.

Next Earnings Date: This information provides insight into the company's reporting of their quarterly data. The prices of stock can often fluctuate once earnings are reported.

There can be other aspects referenced on a stock table, but these components are most common and will help you determine whether or not to purchase a stock. Remember to always look further, as the stock table is just one source of information in deciding to invest.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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Matt Marino


Matt Marino is a certified New Jersey business and computer teacher. Matt holds a BA from Stockton University, a MBA from Georgian Court University and an MeD from Bowling Green State University. Matt is the CEO and Owner of FIBE, a Point Pleasant based web design and media company. Matt is the founder of Matt discusses topics that are commonly expressed as areas of importance within personal finance, such as investing and retirement. The information provided is intended to be informative in nature and not suggestive in any way.

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