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Lesson 14. How to Check Your Investments > Reading the Stock Tables - Pg. 85

How to Check Your Investments 85 Let's use Abercrombie and Fitch as an example. The highest level the stock rose to over the last 52 weeks was 49 11/16. The lowest the stock declined to was 8 7/8. You would subtract the low, 8 7/8, from the high, 49 11/16, and get 41 3/16, or 41.18. Divide this number by the 52-week high (in this case 49 11/16, or 49.68), and you will get the change in stock price in percentages. In this example, you would discover that the price of Abercrombie and Fitch varied a total of 82 percent over the last 52 weeks. That's a really volatile price. Well it would be, but there's a catch. Do you see the little "s" before the first column? This is a qualifier that tells the reader that the stock split sometime in the last 52 weeks. A stock split is nothing more than a company recounting the number of shares of stock it has issued on the market, and dividing the number by (usually) half or reissuing two shares as three. For example, if you owned one share of Abercrombie and Fitch, and it was worth $49, after the split you would own two shares, each worth $24.50. Or, in the case of a two to three split if you owned two shares at $49 each you would now own three shares worth $32.66 each. Companies make stock splits for many reasons, one of the largest being to keep the price of their stock low enough to attract investors. Under normal circumstances, you would need to do a little more research to discover how the stock had been split, but for our example we will assume it was by half. This would change our high to 24.84 (49.68 ÷ 2) and the stock's real volatility to 35 percent. That's a lot easier to believe. Plain English Qualifiers include symbols and initials in the stock tables that demonstrate under which circumstances the corresponding stock information should be considered. They are ex- plained in detail in the stock key. Other qualifiers run next to the 52-week highs and lows, and their presence can make a substantial difference in how the information is read. For example, when the stock has reached a price that is