How to Analyze Stock Performance

How to Analyze Stock Performance
••• Stock Market Crash image by Paul Heasman from

Investing in the stock market can be a smart move, especially for long-term goals such as retirement and your child's education. But to make sure you are on the right track, it is important to analyze the performance of your portfolio at least once or twice a year. This yearly or semiannual analysis will help you spot the winners and losers in your portfolio and allow you to make any necessary adjustments.

Gather your brokerage statements. Determine which period of time you want your analysis to cover. For an annual analysis, you would need the brokerage statements from the same month but consecutive years: for instance, May 2009 and May 2010.

Create a spreadsheet and list each stock you own on a separate line. You can do these calculations with a calculator, but a spreadsheet program is easier.

Enter the price of each stock from the earliest brokerage statement in the first column of the spreadsheet. Enter the price of the same stock from the later statement in the next column.

Subtract the earlier price of the stock from the later one. For instance, users of Microsoft Excel would enter "=B3-C3" if the earlier price was in cell B3 and the later price in cell C3.

Divide the result calculated in Step 4 by the initial price of the stock from the first brokerage statement. For instance, if the result from Step 4 is in cell D3, the formula would be "=D3/B3."

Multiply the result from Step 5 by 100 to get the percentage gain on the stock. Analyze the results on your spreadsheet to see which stocks have fared well and which have fared poorly.