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Use this stock return calculator to determine how much money you could make or lose by buying or selling a stock.
How to Use This Stock Profit Calculator
This stock profit calculator helps you estimate how much you could make by selling stock. The more information you know, the more accurate this calculation will be, but you can also use estimated values to calculate “what-if” scenarios.
To use this stock return calculator, you only need a few pieces of information:
- The number of shares
- Your purchase price (per share)
- Your sale price (per share)
If you know your buy commission, sell commission, and stock symbol, the results will be more accurate, but the calculator can create an estimate based on whatever information you already know.
How to Calculate Stock Profit
There are two ways to use this calculator: to calculate the current return or to estimate future returns. To calculate the current return, you will need to know how much you paid originally per share, as well as any commissions you paid in the process.
You will also need to know what the price is today, and what commissions you’ll pay when you sell.
For example, if you bought 5 shares in Apple Inc. (AAPL) for $60 back in 2020 and used this calculator in 2023 where the price is $150 per share and paid a 2% commission for each transaction ($6 and $15, respectively), you would make a profit of $429, or 140.2%.
You can also use this calculator speculatively by estimating future values. For example, if you buy 2 shares of Apple Inc. (AAPL) for $150 each today and want to know what they’ll be worth in 5 years, there’s no way to know what Apple’s actual selling price will be 5 years into the future.
However, you can use this calculator to estimate how much your return would be in a variety of hypothetical examples using what you think this stock might be worth in the future.
Stocks – Businesses can sell ownership interest in the company in the form of shares—the total of the capital raised by selling shares is called stock. Although strictly speaking stocks and shares are not interchangeable, colloquially, stocks can also mean shares of stock.
Shares – A single unit of a company’s stock is a share. If you own stock in a company, you own a portion of the company itself. Some shares give the owners certain benefits, like the ability to vote on decisions (with each share counting as a vote), or getting higher priority on dividend payouts, but other shares do not.
Profit – When you sell something for more than you paid for it, you’ve turned a profit. Selling an asset realizes its value—in other words until you sell an asset, you haven’t made a profit.
Loss – While everybody wants to make a profit, sometimes you will sell things for less than you paid for them. When you sell something for less than what you paid for it, you realize a loss (or a negative profit).
How to Buy a Stock
Below you will learn the stocks that you need to take if you want to buy a stock.
1. Research online stock brokerages
In today’s digitally-connected world, there’s an abundance of stock brokerages to choose from. You should research what brokerages you have access to online.
The main factors you should look for are whether or not they trade the assets you’re interested in (different stock exchanges trade different stocks), how much their buying and selling fees are, and if the company has a good reputation.
2. Open an account
Historically, shares of stock were issued as paper certificates that verified the rightful owner of a share. Today, most trading takes place digitally, meaning your account with a stockbroker is the primary way you can claim ownership over shares of a stock.
3. Research stocks you would like to buy
Stocks are speculative, meaning there’s no guarantee you’ll ever see a return on your investment. Some stocks are safer than others (meaning they have a consistent performance history and are likely to continue performing well in the future), while more volatile stocks can offer higher rewards along with higher risks.
Research the stocks you think will perform well in the future and that fit your risk tolerance.
4. Purchase stocks
Once you’ve done the important work of researching brokerages and stocks, the only thing left to do is to purchase the stocks themselves. If your stocks rise in value over time, you can realize a profit by buying low and selling high.
Learn about the most frequently asked questions when it comes to stocks.
How is the stock price determined?
Stock exchanges constantly adjust the prices of shares in an attempt to represent the current supply and demand.
When people are willing to pay larger amounts for shares of a stock, the prices go up, and when owners part with their stock for smaller sums, the prices go down.
What is the average rate of return on a stock?
Stock is completely speculative, for example, the average return of the S&P 500 is about 10% each year.
However, for every stock like Coca-Cola Co., which has grown by 6,000% in the past 40 years, there are stocks like Root Inc., whose stock has shrunk by over 98% since its initial public offering (IPO) in 2020.