How to Calculate YTD Returns

A stock’s return is its percentage change in value, including any dividends paid, over a certain period of time. A stock’s year-to-date or YTD return is the total return it has generated from the first day of the current year to the current date. A YTD return can be either positive or negative. A positive YTD return represents an investment profit, while a negative YTD return represents a loss. You can calculate a stock’s YTD return to determine how well it has performed so far this year.

Pull Up Some Stock Price Information

Start by visiting any financial website that provides stock information. Type a stock’s ticker symbol into the required text box and click the button next to the text box to bring up the stock’s price information. A ticker symbol consists of one or more capital letters and is an abbreviation of a company’s name or something related to its business. This should pull up the stock’s current price and the amount of dividends it has paid so far this year. For example, assume a stock’s current price is $14.50 and that it has paid $1 in dividends so far this year.

Now, find the stock’s closing price on the first day of the current year in the historical prices section of the financial website. In this example, assume the stock’s closing price on the first day of the current year was $10.50.

How to Find the YTD Return

To find the year-to-date return, add together the current stock price and the total dividends distributed so far this year. Then divide your result by the stock’s closing price on the first day of the year. In this example, add $14.50 and $1 to get $15.50. Divide $15.50 by $10.50 to get 1.48.

Subtract 1 from the resulting figure – in this example, that 1.48 minus 1, or 0.48. Then multiply this result by 100 to calculate the stock’s YTD return as a percentage. Continuing with the example, multiplying 0.48 by 100 will give you a YTD return of 48 percent.

What the YTD Sales Calculation Means

The year to date return represents the amount of profit that an investment has generated since the beginning of the calendar year. Investors like the analysis because of its simplicity in providing a snapshot of a company's performance. When interpreting the result, understand that a positive percentage means the stock has made money as an investment so far this year. A negative percentage means it has lost money so far this year. You can compare the YTD returns of different stocks to measure and rank their performance for the year.