The number of shares of a stock that exchange hands on a given day is known as trading volume. Technical analysts who monitor market movements to determine trades closely monitor these trading patterns. Stock volume can also indicate the liquidity of a stock, that is, how easy it is to find buyers or sellers of the issue.
Find volume for the current or most recent trading day using any major financial website. The USATODAY.com Money section (money.usatoday.com) provides access to stock quotes, as do CNBC.com, Yahoo Finance (finance.yahoo.com) and others.
Enter the stock ticker symbol or name in the "Get a Quote" box. The system will return data about the stock, including the current trading price, opening and closing prices, daily and 52-week high and low prices and trading volume. Trading volume will be displayed for the current day along with a yearly average volume.
Click on the "charts" tab or link to see a one-year chart of the stock's performance. Directly under the performance chart is a chart of the stock's trading volume for the previous year.
Visit BigCharts (www.bigcharts.com) to obtain historical quotes that include the specific trading volume for a given day. The historical quotes on the site go back 10 years.
Click the "historical quotes" tab. Enter the stock ticker symbol and the date of interest. The system will return the historical opening and closing prices, daily high and low, and the daily trading volume.
Lower volume indicates less liquidity, meaning that it is more difficult to find buyers and sellers of a stock. The more liquid a stock, the more likely that you will pay a price that is near the ask price.
When a stock moves sharply higher accompanied by strong trading volume, that is one indicator of potential momentum. This breakout may indicate increased demand for the stock, as there must be an active supply of willing stock buyers to drive the price higher. Downward trends accompanied by light volume indicate a negative market sentiment; there is a lack of buyers in the market interested in the stock.
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