To find out a stock's price per share, you need only look up its current stock quote. To decide on when it’s best to sell the stock, you must go further and analyze the stock's performance over time. Thanks to free online resources, you don't need to track share price changes manually. Instead, many financial sites provide stock charts that allow you to automate the process. Some charts are interactive and respond to cursor highlighting, allowing you to select the desired time frame and parameters such as volume trends and other technical indicators.
1. Navigate to a financial data website. Google, Yahoo, the Wall Street Journal and many other news services devote sections of their sites to financial services and stock quotes.
2. Type the symbol of the stock you own into the quote box on the financial website. For example, if you want to sell your Apple stock, type "AAPL" into the quote box. Alternatively, you can type the company's name and let the site look up the stock symbol. A page will open displaying the stock chart and most recent stock quote. Many sites also provide financial headlines related to the company and message boards for investors.
3. Click the link for "Interactive chart" to display a chart that responds to cursor input.
4. Identify the price-per-share chart. This chart typically consists of two sections: the upper portion is a line chart that tracks the share price over time, and the lower section is a bar chart that shows daily, weekly or monthly trading volume for the stock, depending on how you configure the chart.
5. Click on links below the price-per-share chart to configure the scale. For example, if you want to examine the change in share price over a three-month period, click the "3M" link to display the corresponding stock chart.
6. Roll your mouse cursor over the final position on the chart or on earlier positions to reveal the exact price per share at these various times.
- In theory, a stock's long-term performance follows previous trends. You can expect a stock whose share price has undergone steady, linear growth to continue rising at that rate. If the chart's trend-line has reached a plateau, that suggests a period of growth has ended and you might consider selling the stock. Either way, you should not base your trading decisions solely on stock charts. Many factors affect a company’s financial stability and future revenue prospects, and these factors often have a significant influence on the company's share price.
- Duncan Smith/Photodisc/Getty Images