How Do I Read the New York Stock Exchange Reports?

by Alia Nikolakopulos

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) publishes daily reports reflecting the trading activities of each public company trading shares in the market. NYSE reports contain a wealth of information that is important for investors to consider when making decisions to buy or trade stock in a particular company. With a little understanding of what is contained in the report, you can easily learn how to interpret the information without contacting an investment broker.

Navigate to the NYSE's website to view current reports, or view reports from another resource. Many print and online business news sources print NYSE reports daily.

Find the company’s ticker symbol on the NYSE report. A ticker symbol is an abbreviation used to identify the company in the stock market, and companies on the NYSE are identified by a three-letter ticker symbol. If you are researching a company and don’t know the ticker symbol, use the “Symbol Lookup” feature on the home page of the NYSE website, or conduct a Web search with the name of the company followed by “ticker symbol.” The ticker letters for the company appear in your search results. If you use the NYSE “Symbol Lookup” feature, you can link directly to the company’s NYSE report from your search results.

Look at the 52-week high and low columns. The amounts shown in these columns relay the highest and lowest price for one share of the company’s stock within the last 52 weeks. The price-per-share for a company that is new to the stock market may fluctuate quite a bit within the first year. Assess risk with your investment broker if fluctuations concern you.

Look at the “Stock” column. This column contains the ticker symbol for the company and the type of stock offered. In most cases, a company offers common or preferred stock. Common stock is more frequently offered by companies than preferred stock, but you can see either type listed in the NYSE report. A third type of stock is a custom type of stock. Customized shares of stock are not frequently traded, but when they are each share of stock typically is attached to specific voting rights.

Look at the “Dividend” column. This column indicates the dividend paid, or expected to be paid by the company. When dividends are estimated, the NYSE uses historical information to determine the estimate. Companies that are new to the stock market may have a zero-dividend estimate because there is no historical data to use in the calculation.

Look at the “Yld” or "Yield" column. Yield is the current rate of return for your investment in the company.

Look at the price/earnings (P/E) ratio. The figure in this column represents the ratio of share price to the company’s earnings per share. Each quarter, a publicly traded company must provide financial information to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The earnings listed in the financial reports is used to calculate the earnings-per-share information. The P/E ratio is calculated by dividing the prior day’s closing price-per-share by the most recent earnings-per-share information.

Look at the “Sales 100s” column. This column indicates the number of shares traded for the company in the previous day.

Look at the “High and Low” columns. These columns represent the highest and lowest price paid for one share of the company’s stock in the previous day. Do not confuse these High/Low columns with the 52-week High/Low columns.

Look at the “Last” column. This column indicates the last price paid for one share of the company’s stock the previous trading session.

Look at the “Chg” column. This column represents the difference between the amount paid for the last share of stock purchased and the previous trading day’s price-per-share.