Understanding how to read stocks in the newspaper is easy. They’re set up in 12 columns, labeled at the top. Grab a newspaper, turn to the stock section, pick your stock, and use these steps as a guideline.
Read from left to right when reading stocks in the newspaper. View your stock’s information in each of the 12 columns. Notice that these columns are titled as follows: 52W high, 52W low, stock, ticker, Div, Yield %, P/E, Volume, high, low, close, and net change.
Read the first two columns as 52-week highs and lows. Understand that these numbers represent the highest, and lowest, price for the stock over a 52-week period. Interpret the third column, stock, as the company the stock belongs to. Read “ticker,” the fourth column, as the ticker symbol for the company. Read the div column, the fifth column, as the dividend the stock brought in for its shareholders. View Yield %, or dividend yield, as the return the investor got on the stock.
When you get to column seven, you’re looking at price-to-earnings ratio. Read column 8 as trading volume, which is how much of this stock was traded during the day. Know that this is per the hundreds. Simply tack two zeros at the end of this number to get actual stock traded. Read columns 9 and 10 as the stock’s highest and lowest price for the day. Know that column 11 marks the stock’s price at the close of the day. Know that column 12 indicates net change. Interpret a positive number as the stock going up in price from the prior day. Interpret a negative number as that stock declining for the day.
Read the stocks in the newspaper everyday. Do this religiously until you could read across 12 columns of information without looking at the column labels.
Tips & Warnings
- If the stock information is listed in bold, it’s because its price deviated from the prior day’s price by 5 percent.
- To get dividend yield, divide dividend per share by price per share. Calculate this on a per-year basis.
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