How to Find and Understand Online Stock Information
Until a few years ago, information about firms trading in the US was available only in the press and from the trading departments of various investment houses. Today, a great deal of information can be obtained instantaneously from the Internet. Financial reports, news, corporate profiles, stock prices and a lot of other related information are freely available. All that is needed is familiarity with the main websites. This title focuses on one of the most popular financial information websites: Yahoo! Finance (gfs.am/financeyahoo)
Other sites provide similar stock market information or specialize in a specific data area. For example, there are news sites, websites with many different charts, as well as sites that provide real time stock quotes.
There are also links to many other websites that will not be discussed here. Typing the ticker symbol of a company in the box located at the top of the page will provide the user with detailed information about that company.
Typing the company’s ticker symbol and clicking the GET QUOTES button opens a new page with the following details that appear:
- The company name - the company’s name, together with its ticker symbol in parentheses.
- Last Trade - the price in dollars of the most recent trade together with the date on which it occurred. The prices listed on the website are delayed fifteen minutes which enables the website to display the information without being required to pay fees to the securities markets.
- Change - the change in the stock’s price since the previous trading day in terms of both dollars ($0.67) and percentage (3.12%).
- Volume - the number of shares that have changed hands during the current trading day.
- Bid and Ask Prices - these are displayed only if the stock is listed on NASDAQ.
- Chart - a small chart showing the stock’s performance during the previous day. Clicking on it will open a page with more options and information.
Each trading day is represented by a small bar. A short branch extends from each side of the bar. The left branch shows the opening price at 9:30 AM, and the right branch shows the closing price at 4:30 PM.
The top of the bar shows the highest price at which the stock was traded, and the bottom of the bar shows the lowest price on that day. In the previous example, the stock opened at 21.60 and closed at 22.17.
Its high for that day was $22.40, and its low was $21.50.
The left hand side of the website presents a long bar with many links to pages with more detailed information.
- Headlines - on this page, the most recent news about the company is displayed along with short headlines. Clicking on a headline opens the full story. The news on this page is from major news sources, such as Bloomberg, Reuters, and others.
- Profile - this page displays a brief company profile listing the company’s corporate address, a short description of its business activities, and its senior executives.
- Analyst Opinion - this page summarizes the opinions of a number of different financial analysts regarding the stock. In addition to noting each analyst’s stock forecasts, the website also calculates an average rating that ranges from 1.00 (strong buy) to 5.00 (strong sell).
- Key Statistics - this page contains financial statistics that are very useful for evaluating a stock. Reported earnings, market cap, related statistics , and many other features including the P/E ratio (discussed above) and another important factor, earnings per share, are listed here.
- Insider Transactions - this is a list of recent transactions by interested parties. The chart lists the date on which the transaction occurred, the interested party, the type of transaction, the type and number of shares involved, the price at which the transaction took place, and the value of the shares.