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Saving & Investing - Head Matters


7. How to Invest

b. Comparing stocks and understanding a stock table (continued)

Stock tables summarizing the previous day’s trading activity are published daily in newspapers or can be found online. There is a table for each of the exchanges, as well as transactions on a number of other financial markets. A substantial amount of information is packed into the fine print of these stock tables.

There are some differences in the way a stock table is laid out in the different media. Some of the terms are:

  • Stock is the name of the stock.
  • Sym is the ticker symbol
  • Close is the closing price of the day.
  • Net Chg shows the increase or decrease in the price for the day.
  • Day’s range shows the lowest and highest trading price of the day.
  • 52 Week range shows the lowest and the highest closing prices of the year.
  • P/E is an abbreviation for “price-to-earnings ratio.”  This number is the price per share of a stock divided by the company’s annual earnings per share.  Although this lesson will not discuss P/E ratios in great detail, this is one of the tools investors use to determine if the stock is cheap or expensive.
  • Div is the dollar amount paid out in dividends per share of stock. Dividends are a way for the company to distribute a portion of the earnings of the company to its investors. 
  • Yield is the percent of dividends or interest paid divided by the stock price. 
  • Volume is the number of shares that were bought and sold in the previous day’s session at the stock exchange.

Example of Stock Table: 

Stock Sym Close Net Chg Day's Range 52 Wk Range P/E Div Yield Volume
General Electric GE 13.40 .17 13.12-
8.70 1.24 9.1% 137,003,000
Apple APPL 140.25 2.47 138.30-
25.25     24,236,912
Exxon Mobil XOM 73.84 .72 72.84-
9.68 1.68 2.3% 25,913,756

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