Stocks Basics: How to Interpret a Stock Quote/Table

Stock Quotes From Financial Papers

Week High & Low

The column 1 and 2 is showing the lowest and highest prices that a stock has traded over a period of 52 weeks previous (or one year). Typically, this will not include the trading of the previous day.

Company Name & Type of Stock

Column 3 displays the type of stock and name of the company. This column is called a “common stock” if there is no special letter or symbols after the company name. However, different samples will imply different types, or classes, of shares. Ie: preferred stock will be noted as “pf” after a company name.

Ticker Symbol

The column number 4 displays the unique alphabetical name used to identify the stock. If you watch any station that shows financial news, you should be familiar with the ticker tape moving along the bottom of your screen. A company is identified by its ticker simple. You can get more details if you google it ..

Dividend Per Share

The column number 5 displays the annual dividend payment per share. The space will remain blank if the company does not have any dividends to currently pay out.

Dividend Yield

The column number 6 shows the percentage return for the dividend. It is calculated by dividing the prices per share by the annual dividends per share.

Price/Earnings Ratio

The Price/Earnings Ratio is displayed in column 7, this is determined by dividing the current stock price by earnings per share from the previous four quarters. If you need more information on how to interpret this file, please check out our P/E Ratio tutorial.

Trading Volume

The column number 8 displays the total number of shares traded that particular day, in the hundreds. To determine the actual number, simply add “00” at the end of the number displayed.

Day High and Low

The column 9 & 10 shows the Day High and Low, this is the value range where the stock has traded during the day. To put it simply, these numbers display the minimum and maximum prices which at which people have purchased that particular stock


Column 11 shows the last trading value that was recorded as the market closed for business for that day. If this number is more than 5% higher or lower than that of the previous days closing price, the entire listing for that stock will be in bold. Remember, you are never promised to get the same price the next day as the prices fluctuate constantly (they can even change once the market has closed for the business day). The close is only an indicator of previous performance for that particular stock. Unless there are special stimulants, this serves merely as a ballpark figure of what you should expect to pay for that stock.

Net Change

The column number 12 displays the stock prices change in dollar value from the closing price of the previous day. Whenever you hear the term “up for the day” it says that the net change was a positive one, rather than negative or stationary.

Stocks Quotes on the Internet

It is very easy nowadays to find current stock quotes on the Internet. This method is preferred by most as the majority of the sites are continuously updated during the day so you have access to current news, research, information and charting, etc.

To find a quote, all you need to do is type the ticker symbol in the quote box on any financial sige such as CBS Marketwatch, Yahoo! Finance or MSN Moneycentral.

The above example gives a quote from Microsoft (MSFT) from Yahoo! Finance. You would interpret data in the exact same manner that we have discussed above.


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