How To Read A Stock Table (Stock Market Investing 101)

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READING STOCK TABLES 101

How to Read a Stock Table - Read Stock Table - Reading Stock Quote Table

How to Read a Stock Table (Stock Market Investing 101)

Bid… Ask… P/E Ratio?The stock market is filled with intricate words and acronyms that can intimidate the novice investor. In this brief article, you will learn some of the basic financial terms and concepts that will appear when reading a basic stock table.

How to Read a Stock Table - Read Stock Table - Reading Stock Quote Table

Above is a sample stock table taken from Yahoo! Finance.

At the top of the table you will see the name of the stock (Annaly Capital Management, Inc.) followed by its ticker symbol in parentheses (NLY). This ticker symbol is unique to this company and is typically assigned to it by the stock exchange on which it is traded.

Following the ticker symbol, you will see the acronym, NYSE. This refers to the particular stock exchange that this company’s stock is traded on. In this case, NLY is traded on the NYSE, or theNew York Stock Exchange.

How to Read a Stock Table - Read Stock Table - Reading Stock Quote Table

Below the company’s name and ticker symbol you will see the current price along with the current gains or losses on the stock during the latest trading session.

Next, let’s examine the left column of data.

How to Read a Stock Table - Read Stock Table - Reading Stock Quote Table

Prev. Close: This is the closing price of the stock during the last trading session, which usually refers to yesterday.

Open: This refers to the stock’s open price, or the price at which the stock opened during the current trading session.

Bid: The offering price at which current would-be buyers are willing to pay for the stock. This is also the price that current sellers are likely to receive if they sell immediately at the market.

Ask: The price at which current stockholders are willing to sell their shares of stock. This is also the price that current buyers are likely to pay if they were to purchase shares at current market prices.

1y Target Est: This data field is uncommon when looking at some stock tables. However, on Yahoo! Finance, this refers to the median target price forecast by analysts covering the stock. I tend to ignore this data on Yahoo as it is not updated regularly and is rarely correct.

Beta: Beta is a historical measurement of the volatility of a stock as compared to the stock market as a whole. So if the numerical value of a stock’s beta is 1 then its volatility is equal to that of the overall stock market. The higher this number, the more volatility the investor should expect. A lower beta number, however, implies that the stock is less volatile than the overall stock market.

Next Earnings Date: Companies typically report their earnings four times per year, or every quarter. This data field simply refers to the next earnings reporting date for this company.

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