What Is Meant by the Market Price of a Stock?

By: M. Scilly | Reviewed by: Ashley Donohoe, MBA | Updated April 25, 2019

The market price is found in a stock quote.

Duncan Smith/Photodisc/Getty Images

As an investor, the most basic piece of information you need to know about when buying or selling a stock is its market price, which will give you an indication of how much you can buy or sell a stock for and can be used to analyze the value of a company and historic stock trends. Use the market price to make an informed decision when you invest your money in stocks.

Tip

The market price of a stock is a security's current trading price, resulting from the interaction of investors, traders and dealers.

Market Price Definition

The market price of a stock is the price that it sells for on the open market at a given point in time. The market price will usually fluctuate throughout the trading day as investors buy and sell stocks. The market price will rise if more people want to buy it and fall as people begin selling more of the stock. Be aware, however, that the market price isn't necessarily an accurate indicator of a stock's value.

Market Price and Investor Sentiment

Investor sentiment can drive up the market value of a stock, particularly with initial public offerings (IPOs). When a company goes public, the buzz and industry hype around this first stock it offers – the IPOs – may inordinately drive up the value of the stock. And because the newly issued stock doesn't have a trading history, the high initial market price may plummet after a few weeks or months after its debut.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) urges investors to research a company's IPO registration statement, which is published on the SEC's online EDGAR database.

Market Price Cap

If you know the market price of a stock, you can calculate the market capitalization – or market cap – of the company. The market cap is a company's worth, represented by the total market value of all its publicly traded shares. Find the market cap by multiplying the number of shares outstanding in the company by the market price of its stock. For example, if you have a company with 20,000 shares outstanding and a market price of $10, the company's market cap would be $200,000.

Finding Market Price

The market price is the value of a stock that is presented in stock quotes. These are usually printed in the financial section of a newspaper, and for larger companies, they might be quoted in TV newscasts. Using the internet, you can quickly access the present market price, as well as historic market prices. You can search for this information on websites such as Google Finance, Yahoo Finance and Bloomberg.

Market Price Importance

If you are buying or selling a stock, the market value is of obvious importance because it indicates how much you can sell it for or how many shares you can buy with what you have to invest. You can use historic market prices to find trends in a stock. For instance, you might find that the stock has been steadily climbing or that it is dropping in value over the long term.

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Photo Credits

  • Duncan Smith/Photodisc/Getty Images

About the Author

M. Scilly is a writer and editor who writes for various online publications, specializing in business and management. He has a fondness for travel and photography. In his free time he enjoys marathon training.

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