Investing money in the stock market can yield significant returns, but you also stand to lose your investment. When you want to reconcile your books or find out how your investments performed, you can calculate the total monetary gain or loss on each stock purchase and sale. To figure your total gain or loss, you have to keep in mind the costs of acquiring and disposing of the shares and any dividend payments as well as the change in the stock price.

1. Add the commissions you paid on the stock purchase and the stock sale. For example, if you pay a $29 commission for both trades, you have $58 in costs.

2. Multiply the purchase price per share by the number of shares bought to find your investment. For example, if you paid $91 per share for 310 shares, you paid $28,210.

3. Add the commissions to the cost of purchasing the shares to find your total costs. In this example, add $58 to $28,210 to find your total costs equal $28,268.

4. Add up any dividends the stock paid while you owned it. For example, if the stock paid $4 in dividends per share over the time you owned it and you owned 310 shares, multiply $4 by 310 to find you received $1,240 in dividends.

5. Multiply the selling price per share by the number of shares sold to find your receipts. For example, if you sold 310 shares for $90, you received $27,900.

6. Add the dividends to the receipts to find your total returns. In this example, add $1,240 plus $27,900 to find your returns equals $29,140.

7. Subtract your total costs from your total receipts to find your total gain or loss. In this example, subtract $28,268 from $29,140 to find your gain equals $872.

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