How to Figure Net Change Percentage for Stocks

The net change percentage is a common statistic displayed in stock quotes on financial websites and in newspapers. This figure represents the difference between the stock’s most recent sale price and the previous day’s closing price as a percentage of the previous day‘s closing price. You can calculate the net change percentage to see which direction a stock moves in a particular day and the relative size of the move. A positive percentage means the stock is currently rising, while a negative percentage indicates a falling stock.

Step 1

Visit any financial website that provides stock information. Type a company’s name or its stock’s ticker symbol of capital letters into the stock quote text box, and click “Get Quote” to view its main quote page.

Step 2

Find the stock’s current price near the top of the page. This is the sale price of the most recently reported trade. If the current trading day has already ended, use the current day’s closing price. Also identify the stock’s previous closing price, which is the previous day’s last reported trade price. For example, assume a stock’s current price is $41.75 and its previous close is $39.15.

Step 3

Subtract the previous close from the current price. In this example, subtract $39.15 from $41.75 to get $2.60.

Step 4

Divide this result by the previous close. In this example, divide $2.60 by $41.75 to get 0.062.

Step 5

Multiply this result by 100 to calculate the stock’s net change percentage. Concluding the example, multiply 0.062 by 100 to get 6.2 percent. This means that, as of the most recent trade, the stock’s price has increased by 6.2 percent of its previous day’s closing price.

Tip

  • A large net change percentage in either direction -- such as 5 percent or more -- often follows major news related to the stock. Such news might include a strong quarterly earnings report or an announcement of a merger with another company. Watch for large net change percentages in your stocks and other stocks in the same industry, and read the relevant news articles to find out information that can affect your investments.

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