How do I Calculate the Worth of Stock Shares?

Reading the stock pages of the newspaper can feel a little like deciphering hieroglyphics, especially if you've just been given, or have otherwise acquired, stock. The stock section isn’t newbie-friendly, and lists a bewildering range of symbols and data points. Luckily, once you’ve figured out the process, you’ll find that looking up the price of your stock, and determining its worth, is very easy.

Find the ticker symbol of your stock. The ticker symbol is a one-to-five letter code that identifies a stock. If it’s between one and three letters long, the stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange, or the American Stock Exchange. Four-letter stocks trade on the NASDAQ, and five-letter stocks either trade on the NASDAQ exchange, or on the over-the-counter network of brokers.

Look up the ticker symbol on a popular financial website. Use a site such as Yahoo! Finance or MSN Money to look up your stock. Place the name of the company in the quotes field near the top of the page. Click on the name of your company and ticker symbol to pull up information on the stock.

Read the information about the current trading price. The current price of your stock will appear under the name of the company near the top of the web page. In a smaller font, you’ll also have some recent prices, such as the previous day’s closing price, the high price for the day, low price for the day, and the 52-week high and low prices.

Calculate the amount your stock is worth. Multiply the current price per share by the number of shares you own. This will give you the total value of your shares. Remember to deduct any fees you’ll pay to sell your shares before counting your money. An online or discount broker will charge low fees, while a full-service broker may help you with the trade, but charge you a higher commission.

About the Author

As a former financial advisor to companies and individuals for 16 years, Joe Andrews knows financial planning and marketing from start-ups to personal budgets. He also writes on motor racing, board games and travel. Andrews received his B.A. from Michigan State University in English. He is currently working on a young adult novel.