How to Compute the Yearly Stock Market Percentage Gain or Loss

by Kathryn Hatter

Stock market fluctuations involve short-term shifts up or down as well as longer-term trends that can indicate a bear or bull market. Each individual stock or share in the stock market represents a small portion of ownership in a company. Compute the yearly stock market percentage gain or loss with a basic mathematical formula. The black and white percentage number will provide the bottom line trend information for the year.

1. Locate the stock market value from the first day of the year. For example, in 2010, the Dow Jones Industrial Average beginning price was 10,430.69 on Jan. 4, according to the Market Watch website.

2. Find the stock market value from the last day of the year. Using the same example, in 2010, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ending price was 11,577.51, according to the Market Watch website.

3. Subtract the beginning price from the ending price. Using the 2010 historical figures above: 11,577.51 minus 10,430.69 equals 1,146.82.

4. Divide the difference between the beginning price and the ending price by the beginning price: 1,146.82 divided by 10,430.69 equals 0.1099.

5. Move the decimal two digits to the right. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had a 10.99 percent gain in 2010.


  • The general term “stock market” may refer to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Nasdaq or the S&P; 500 Index. Each index measures different data and measures the data with different methods.
  • A bear market represents a downward trend, while a bull market represents an upward swing.

Items you will need

  • Calculator

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