Stocks Basics: How to Read A Stock Table/Quote

Investing in stocks can be a daunting task for those who are not familiar with the lingo. There are many pieces of information that stock tables can provide, depending upon the source and the depth of information that the source wants to provide.

The first thing that you'll want to figure out is the stock ticker. This is usually a code made up of between one and five letters that represents the company. The next thing you'll want to understand is the stock's price. This is the amount that you have to pay for each share of a given company. This can be as low as a penny for some microcap stocks, or as high as more than $240,000 a share for A shares of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

Another piece of information that stock tables usually give is the current price/earnings ratio of a company. This is the price that you pay for each dollar of earnings that a company has realized. These tables also give the movement that a stock's price has made in the current day. Finally, most charts will give the current annualized dividend, if any, that a company pays out. By learning some of the lingo, you can become an educated stock analyst over time.