How to Calculate Daily Stock Return

by Bryan Keythman

Stock prices change on a daily basis, altering the value of your investments. You may calculate daily stock returns to monitor the magnitude of this change. The daily return measures the dollar change in a stock’s price as a percentage of the previous day’s closing price. A positive return means the stock has grown in value, while a negative return means it has lost value. A stock with lower positive and negative daily returns is typically less risky than a stock with higher daily returns, which create larger swings in value.

Visit a financial website that provides stock price information.

Type a company’s name or its stock’s ticker symbol into the text box required to search for stocks. Click the search button next to the text box to bring up its information. A ticker symbol consists of one or more capital letters and is an abbreviation of the company’s name or something related to its business.

Find in the historical prices section the stock’s closing price for any two consecutive days. For example, assume a stock’s closing price was $36.75 yesterday and that its closing price was $35.50 the previous day.

Subtract the previous day’s closing price from the most recent day’s closing price. In this example, subtract $35.50 from $36.75 to get $1.25.

Divide your Step 4 result by the previous day’s closing price to calculate the daily return. Multiply this result by 100 to convert it to a percentage. Continuing with the example, divide $1.25 by $35.50 to get 0.035. Multiply 0.035 by 100 to get a 3.5 percent return for that day. This means that the stock’s price increased by 3.5 percent over the previous day’s closing price.


  • Calculate a stock’s daily returns over a period of time, such as one year, to understand how much its price moves on an average day and the range of daily returns.

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