To track how your stocks are doing, you have to look at stock listings. Stock listings
are published in just about every newspaper. The listings
look confusing at first, since they look like a mixture of numbers, but can
be a very useful tool when tracking your stock's progress. The listings are
organized into many columns, including the following information :
52 weeks high and low, company name, symbol, dividend, percent yield, PE ratio,
volume, high, low, close and net change.
52 weeks high and low This field is a good indicator about a stocks volatility.
Volatility is an indicator of the riskiness and potential for profit that the stock
has. The greater the difference between the high and low, the riskier the stock is
for loss and gain. If the difference between the high and low is small, then
there is little potential for either loss or gain.
Company name - This field is usually abbreviated in the listings, and listed
Symbol - This field is a one to four character symbol used as a sort
of nickname for the company.
Dividend - This field is listed in dollar format, and it is the cash
amount of money that the company will pay you each year for each stock.
Percent yield - This field is calculated by dividing the dividend
by the closing price. It just tells you how much of the price of the stock you
will be paid in dividends each year.
PE ratio - The price-earnings ratio calculates the relationship between
the price of a company's stock, and the annual earnings of a company. It is
calculated by divinding the closing price of the stock by the earnings per share
of each stock.
Volume - The volume is the amount of stocks that were traded the day before. This
number is given in hundreds, so to get the actual number of stocks traded, multiply the
number in that field by one hundred. If a small z is before the number,
then the volume is not given in hundreds, and is the actual number of stocks traded.
High, low and close - These are the highest and lowest prices of the stock
the day before, and the closing price for the day before. This is an indicator
of how much the price of the stock fluctuated throughout the previous day.
Net change - This is the change of the price of the
stock from the previous day. This gives you an idea whether the price is dropping or rising.
In addition to the stock listings, stock price charts can sometimes offer
a better view of how the stock is doing. The price charts graphically organize
the value of the stock over time. The charts can give you information on the
company's historical performance, the stock's stability or volatility, the stock's
current price relative to the past, and the stock's growth rate.