How to Read Stock Tables
Most financial newspapers publish stock tables of the various stock exchanges and markets, showing summaries of how stocks of different companies have performed the previous trading day, information about dividend payments, price to earnings (P/E) ratio, etc. Knowing how to read those stock tables, understanding the investment quotes and being able to navigate the NASDAQ, New York Stock Exchange or American Stock Exchange is an investing basic and essential for your investment success.
Here is how to read a stock table:
52-Week High and 52-Week Low
These two columns show the highest and lowest prices that have been paid for the stock over the past one year (52 weeks).
In this column you will find the name of the company.
This is the company's trading symbol - a unique combination of letters which identifies the stock. You may find some newspapers that list an abbreviation of the particular company's name instead of the ticker symbol.
Div (short for dividend)
A dividend is when stockholders receive a portion of the company's profits. In this example for each share of stock owned, stockholders will be paid $1.65 from the company's annual profits. Thus, if a shareholder holds 100 shares, they should receive $165 for the year.
This field may be left blank which would indicate that the company will not pay out dividends.
Yld% (Dividend Yield)
This column shows the yield, or rate of return, on the investment. It is calculated as annual dividend divided by the current price of the stock.
P/E (Price/Earnings ratio)
This column shows the stock price divided by the company's earnings per share for the past four quarters. A P/E of 14 shows that the company's stock price is about 14 times its annual earnings per share.
Sales 100s (Volume 100s)
This field represents the total amount of stock traded for the previous day. The figure is listed in hundreds so to get the actual number you need to add "00" to it. In this example, 1,442,800 shares of stock have been traded.
High, Low and Last (High, Low and Close)
These three columns show respectively the highest and lowest price paid for the stock during the previous day and the last trading price paid when the market closed on the previous day.
Chg (Net change)
The net change shows the change in the stock price from the closing price from the previous trading day. A (+) sign as in the example above indicates a higher price. A (-) sign would indicate a drop in price.
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