Stock charts break down investment data and offer you a glance into the company’s recent activity and financial performance. Charts include an X-axis that reflects the timeframe and a Y-axis that reflects the price points at which the stock traded. The line that runs across the chart allows you to follow the stock’s performance throughout the timeframe.

Some charts will show you just one day’s ups and downs, while others will show you a stock’s YTD (year-to-date) performance or an even longer period of time. Every chart should show you the opening price, price fluctuations and average volume.

While charts provide valuable information, you shouldn’t sweat the day-to-day changes too much, especially if you’re a longer-term investor. All stocks will swing, sometimes even dramatically, but doing your research to understand why they’re changing will shed more light on the company’s future than the chart itself.

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