Reading A Stock Quote -- Made Easy!

By Christian Hudspeth
February 20, 2013

Have you ever heard someone stand up from their computer at work and scream in excitement, "Check it out! My favorite stock is up 10%!"

OK, so maybe working for a company like InvestingAnswers, I hear that a bit more than most people.

But either way, if you plan to invest, there is one type of webpage you will look to for the kind of information that can make you jump out of your seat.

It doesn't matter if you're Warren Buffett, Suze Orman or someone looking at stocks for the very first time -- this is one financial tool you will need to know intimately if you want to really know how stocks work.

I'm talking about the stock quote. Filled with numbers and terms that may seem like a foreign language to most people, the stock quote contains the most basic snapshot of a stock's characteristics -- most notably, the stock's price -- along with some insight on a company's financial health.

But reading a stock quote doesn't have to be confusing -- or a waste of time. In fact, there's a huge upside: Read it correctly and it could lead you to a profitable company that's really worth investing in.

Below is an interactive stock quote that's modeled after the ones you'll typically see on financial websites such as InvestingAnswers, Street Authority or even Yahoo! Finance and Google Finance. In this example, we use Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) stock.

Simply scroll over each of the terms with your mouse, and we'll decipher the hieroglyphics and tell you what everything means in plain English:

[If you'd prefer, you can view our easy-to-understand text version of this article here.]

Want more information on a particular part of the stock quote? Try the InvestingAnswers Financial Dictionary -- the industry's most investor-friendly resource used by hundreds of thousands of investors every month.

Here are the top stock quote terms that we recommend looking further into to help you become a stock quote expert (just click a term to see more details):

The Investing Answer: The stock quote offers investors a snapshot of a stock and the company it represents. It's a quick way to check a stock's current price, its price trends (over days, months or years), its risk, its company's size and its value (how much you're getting in earnings or dividends in return for buying shares of the stock). If you become a regular stock investor, you're likely to look at stock quote pages more often than any sort of financial statement, so it's good to become familiar with the terms above.

The stock quote is a great starting point before you dive further into a company's financials and ultimately make your investing decision.

To help you further in your investing success, check out these useful articles from InvestingAnswers: