Written by Charlotte Wood (last updated February 21, 2009)
Some people find almost everything about the stock market confusing and the stock quotes, with all those different numbers, colors, and parentheses don't help. Fortunately, coming to understand the format of those different numbers will most definitely clear a lot up for you and it's not that hard to grasp. While the stock market in general is a bit confusing, the stock quotes don't have to be!
Your typical stock quote will look something like this:
Pepsi Bottling Group, Inc. (PBG) 35.53 up 0.75 (2.16 %) as of 4:42 ET on 09/10/07
On the first line you have your official stock name followed by its specific ticker symbol. This is so you know what stock you're looking at and what official symbol to look for when checking on your stock later. If you aren't sure what your stock symbol is, there are numerous finance sites (on Yahoo!, Google, or MSN etc.) that you can find your stock symbol in no time.
The first number on the second line is the last price of the last trade of the day. This is also the price at which you can buy the stock yourself. Call your broker however so you can get the real price as the prices on websites etc. are delayed by 15 or 20 minutes. Next is an indicator (a word or an arrow) that lets you know whether the stock has gone up or down in value. In the above example, on September 10, Pepsi stock had an increase in value.
Moving toward the right, the next figure indicates how much of a change the stock has experienced. For Pepsi, there was a 75 cent increase in value on September 10. The percentage, shown in parentheses, is simply the percentage change from the last day's closing price to the current price. And the last line is pretty self explanatory; it just tells you when that information was last updated.
Just knowing this information will allow you to check any stock quote and understand the basics of what's going on. Of course the stock market is a bit more complicated than simply understanding the tenets of the quotes, but here's one more thing you can now check off your list of "Incomprehensible Stock Info"!
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