How to Read Stock Prices From a Newspaper

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Reading stock prices in the newspaper might be old-fashioned, but it’s a useful method if you don’t need or don't have access to real-time online quotes. A newspaper prints stock information in tables, which typically show a stock’s daily closing price and the high and low prices it reached during the previous day and year. With a quick glance, you can identify a stock’s recent trading range and scan prices of several stocks at once. This can help you check up on the market and find some new picks for further research.

Step 1

Flip to the business or financial section of the newspaper and find the stock tables.

Step 2

Find the ticker symbol of a company’s stock in the stock column toward the left side of the table. A ticker symbol consists of one or more capital letters and is used to identify publicly traded stocks. The information in this row of the table pertains to this stock.

Step 3

Identify the price in the last, or close, column. This is the price the stock last traded for at the end of the most recent trading day. For example, if the closing price is \$25.50, the stock changed hands for \$25.50 at the close of the last trading session.

Step 4

Read the amount in the change column. This is the difference between the closing price in Step 3 and the one from the day before. A negative number means the stock fell between the two days, while a positive number indicates an increase. In this example, assume the change is \$0.50. This means the \$25.50 closing price is 50 cents higher than the day before.

Step 5

Check out the prices in the high and low columns. These are the highest and lowest prices the stock reached during the last trading day. In this example, if the high is \$25.75 and the low is \$24.85, the most and least someone paid for the stock in the last trading session was \$25.75 and \$24.85.

Step 6

Review the prices in the 52-week high and low columns, which differ from those in Step 5. These are the highest and lowest prices paid for the stock in the past year. Concluding the example, if the 52-week high is \$30 and the 52-week low is \$10.50, the stock traded between these amounts in the past 52 weeks.