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Hi, and welcome to the Column Explanations FAQ post for the My Portfolio feature. If you are having trouble using My Portfolio, please read the questions and answers below. There's a good chance you'll find the answer there (OK, maybe not a good chance, but a chance anyway).

If you don't find the answers you're looking for, or to report a malfunction or other problem, just click on the Post New link above, type a brief description of your question in the Subject box, and type the full question in the large text box below it. (Do not click on the Post Reply link, or post in all caps, as this annoys the semi-friendly My Portfolio Experts who are at this very moment waiting to help.) After you type your question, click the Preview Message button, and if everything looks OK, click on “Yes, Submit Message” to post your question. You can post your notes of gushing praise using this same method, too!

What is a “Benchmark” and how is it calculated?

Fools benchmark their portfolios in order to understand how their holdings are performing relative to broader market indices. By default, your Fool portfolio is benchmarked against the S&P 500, but you can change that setting by clicking the Change Benchmark link.

The benchmark is calculated by purchasing pieces of the benchmark using the same dates and dollar amounts as your individual purchases.

What is “Annualized Return”

Why do we use an annualized figure? For the same reason banks use APY (Annual Percentage Yield, you'll see it on your bank statement). For example, if a 3-month CD returns your original deposit plus 1.5% and an 8-month CD returns your original deposit plus 4%, which is the better deal for you?

Well, the 3-month CD has an APY of 6.15% (meaning if you renewed it at the same rate 4 times so as to hold it an entire year, you'd get your original deposit plus 6.15%). Although the 8-month CD has a nearly 3 times higher straight percentage, it is also takes it a longer time to achieve that return, and its APY is only 6.04%. So, if you want to make more money over a 24-month period, having the 3-month CD and renewing it 7 times is better than having the 8-month CD and renewing it twice.

Comparing the 1.5% and the 4% numbers tells you nothing because they are in different units (one is gain per quarter, and the other is gain per 8-month-period). But the APY figures, 6.15% and 6.04%, are in the same units (compounded annual gain), so they can easily be compared.


What does the asterisk (*) next to column options indicate?

The asterisk (*) indicates that the column is totaled in the portfolio view. Totaled columns always appear at the end of the portfolio columns.



Now what do all of these columns mean?
Format: Edit View Screen (“Portfolio View Name”)


Quote Information Column Options

Ask Price (“Ask Price”): The lowest price that any investor or dealer is willing to sell a security.

Ask Size (“Ask Size”): The number of shares that are being offered for sale at the “Ask Price”.

Bid Price (“Bid Price”): The highest price that any buyer is willing to pay for a security.

Bid Size (“Bid Size”): The number of shares that are being offered for purchase at the “Bid Price”.

Close (“Close”): The previous closing price for the stock. This is the price of the stock at the market closing which occurred before the most recent market opening (see “Open”).

High (“High”): The highest price the stock has traded at today. Before the market opens, and on days the market is closed, the high for the last day the market was open is shown.

Last Price (“Price”): The price the stock is trading at. Quotes are delayed (see “Quote Date/Time”).

Links to Detailed Information (“More Information”): Links to news, messages, estimates, charts, snapshot, financials, and sec filings for the stock.

Low (“Low”): The lowest price the stock has traded at today. Before the market opens, and on days the market is closed, the low for the last day the market was open is shown.

Mid (“Mid”): The midpoint between the “Ask Price” and the “Bid Price”.

Minutes Delayed (“Minutes Delayed”): The elapsed time between the quote time and the current time expressed in minutes.

Open (“Open”): The price of the stock at the most recent market open.

Price Change (“Price Change”): The difference between the delayed stock “Last Price” and the previous “Close”.

% Change (“Daily % Change”): The percentage change from the previous “Close” to the delayed stock “Last Price”.

Price Change Indicator (“Daily Price +/-”): A green smiling, yellow neutral expression, or red frowning face depending on whether the “Price Change” was positive, zero, or negative.

Quote Date/Time (“Date/Time”): The date and time the quote data was obtained. Quotes are delayed 15-20 minutes.

Volume (“Volume”): The number of shares traded so far today, or (if the market is closed) on the most recently completed day of trading.



Fundamentals Column Options

50-day Average Volume (“50-day Avg. Volumn”): The average volume of shares traded for the prior 50 days.

52-week High (“52-week High”): The highest price the stock has traded at in the last 52 weeks.

52-week High Date (“52-week High Date”): The date of the 52-week high quote.

52-week Low (“52-week Low”): The lowest price the stock has traded at in the last 52 weeks.

52-week Low Date (“52-week Low Date”): The date of the 52-week low quote.

Company Name (“Company Name”): The company's name.

Earnings per share (“Earnings Per Share”): Trailing twelve month's earnings divided by the number of shares available for trading.

Exchange (“Exchange”): The exchange the stock trades on.

Last Dividend (“Last Dividend”): The annual dividend per share of stock. Note that if the company pays dividends quarterly, this number is the sum of the four dividends they pay during a year.

Market Cap (“Market Cap”): The total value of all of the shares of the company multiplied by the recent price per share (in millions).

P/E (“P/E”): The stock price divided by the company's annual earnings per share.

Shares Outstanding (“Shares Outstanding”): The number of shares available for trade.

Ticker Symbol (“Ticker”): The stock's ticker symbol. Clicking on the ticker symbol when viewing a portfolio brings up the company information page.

Yield (“Yield”): The annual dividend divided by the stock price times 100.


Position Information Column Options

Ann. Benchmark % Return (“Ann. Benchmark % Return”) The benchmark return expressed annualized.

Annualized % Return (“Annualized % Return”): Total returns for your holdings expressed as an annualized percentage.

Average Cost/Share (“Cost/Share”): The average cost per share of the stock, including commissions.

Commission (“Commission”) The amount of commission paid.

*Current Value (“Current Value”): The “Number of Shares” times the delayed stock “Last Price”.

* Daily % Change in Value (“Daily % Value Change”): The percentage change from the value as of the previous close to the “Current Value”.

* Daily Change in Value (“Daily Change”): The difference between the “Current Value” and the value based on the previous close.

Days Held (“Days Held”): How long you have held these shares expressed in days.

*Initial Investment (“Initial Investment”): The cost for your current holdings excluding commissions.

Number of Shares (“# Shares”): The number of shares in the transaction.

Open Date (“Trade Date”): The date of the transaction. Shows as earliest purchase date in By Ticker view.

*Percentage of Portfolio (“% of Portfolio”): The percentage that this stock's “Current Value” is of the portfolio's current value, including cash.

Position Notes (“Position Notes”): Want to enter your target buy/sell price? How about a reminder of why you bought the stock? This is the place to do it!

Position Type (“Position Type”): Indicates if your position is “Long” or “Short”.

Purchase Price (“Purchase Price”): The amount you paid for the stock.

*Total % Return (“Total % Return”): The percentage change from the “Initial Investment” to the “Current Value”.

Total Benchmark % Return (“Total Benchmark % Return”) The straight benchmark return expressed as a percentage.

*Total Cost (“Total Cost”): The total cost of the stock, including commissions.

*Total Gain (“Total Gain”): The gain (or loss) you will have if you sold (or covered) your stocks at the current price.

Value Change Indicator (“Total Value +/-”): A green smiling, yellow neutral expression, or red frowning face depending on whether the “Total Gain” was positive, zero, or negative.


Updated 3/11/02
TMF Dawn
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