If you're new to the stock market then you might not really know how to get started. The stock quote is the most basic piece of information you can find on a stock, but you might not really know what it means. Understanding stock quotes is an important first step toward becoming a successful investigator in the stock market.
The stock quote can be found in the newspaper or online and is a quick piece of information that is updated regularly to keep you informed of a stock's status. Depending on your interest and how soon you need your information, you can follow the stock quote and get updates every minute online. For the casual investor, however, checking its quote the next morning is good enough.
For the newbie, though, the stock quotes can be a little intimidating or confusing. There are a bunch of numbers and abbreviated words and it all might seem like some secret code. Well, if so then you are in luck, because here is your decoder ring (and it will not tell you to drink more Ovaltine). Here are some of the things you need to know in the stock quote:
Year-to-Date Percentage Change: This number is the percentage change of the stock price for the calendar year.
52-Week High & Low: The two numbers provided here show the highest and lowest price the stock has traded at over the last 52 weeks.
Dividend: This is a distribution of a portion of the company's money to shareholders. In the stock quote, you are usually shown the annual dividend based on the last disbursement.
Yield Percentage: This is the dividends and other disbursements paid to stockholders as a percentage of the stock's price
Price to Earnings Ratio: This is a ratio of a company's current share price (the market value) divided by its per-share earnings.
Close – Close is the last price at which the stock traded that day. However, the stock will not necessarily open the next day at that same price.
Net Change – This is a calculation of the change in price at closing from one day to the next.