Investing 101: Reading and Understanding stock charts, indices, and ticker symbols

Alllllright! This article will be dedicated to the new folks who have just opened their brokerage account but have no idea what the hell they're looking at! In this article, we will go back to the fundamentals of looking at charts, indices, and ticker symbols. Lettuce begin


I know it looks confusing as hell... but I'll explain in a bit

I know it looks confusing as hell... but I'll explain in a bit

ALRIGHT BEFORE YOU SAY "fuck this shit... I'll die poor" bare with me and we'll go in depth about this that afterward, with a little bit of practice, you'll be reading these charts like a pro. Everything is color-coded to make the process much simpler and faster. We'll look at a company EVERYONE is very familiar with, Apple.

Apple chart EXAMPLE_LI.jpg

The circle in red is the share price of the company or the amount of money you need to put in in order to own one share of Apple. 

On the x-axis or the orange lines, you see the date and the share price during that time frame.

Circled in green is ways you can manipulate and view the graph differently. If I wanted to see the stock price of Apple say 10 years ago I'd click on "10Y" or if I wanted to view the daily fluctuations, I'd click on "5D" and it will show me the share price from the past 5 days. 

Circled in black is the volume or the total number of transactions made in a single trading period. For every 1 share being sold another one is being bought, that makes a transaction.

The enormous blue line you see on the chart is the share price fluctuation or the trend line. It goes up as the stock price goes up and it goes down as it decreases. 


All indices das it.PNG

An index (or indices for plural) is the average share price of a bundle of companies or an industry. Some of the few indices you may hear about are the S&P 500, the NASDAQ composite, and the Dow 30. The S&P 500 index has, you guessed it, 500 of the largest publicly traded companies based on market capitalization. The Dow 30 on the other hand, has 30 significant large publicly traded companies. Money managers normally use the S&P or the Dow as a benchmark to see if they can achieve higher returns than the market average (85% of them also can't receive or beat the market average either, and they're the "professionals.") 

Ticker symbol  

Snapchat ticker symbol

Snapchat ticker symbol

Every security traded on any exchange has a ticker symbol. A ticker symbol has an arrangement of letters or numbers, an investor can type in 1 - 5 characters rather than typing out the fund or companies name, making their search as simple as possible. It's common for the companies name to be abbreviated by the symbol. Visa inc. is $V and Apple is $AAPL. However, it's not always the case, like Coca-Cola $KO.