Experienced investors look closely at trends to make their determinations about the future direction of a stock and whether they wish to ride along with it. Instead of keeping notes on the daily stock market quotes, or a portfolio of pages ripped from the newspaper, it's a great deal easier to look for trends on a stock chart. A stock chart shows the history of a particular stock -- and a free stock chart is a resource too good to pass up.
Free stock quotes and charting for equities, mutual funds, and commodities are available online, so one of the first things a would-be investor should learn is how to read a stock chart. You can also obtain free stock charting software, some with built-in hints and cues that encourage you to begin making market moves immediately. Others, with fewer gimmicks, provide more tracking power. Some rely solely on graphs, so your ability to decipher trend-data graphs should be equal to the task.
Most companies use a range of data feeds from a variety of exchanges and their free stock chart pages can be extensive. Look for a default chart, the one-year open/high/low/close (OHLC) chart for an individual stock. As its name implies, an intervals chart is usually for 5 days, one month, three months, six months, and from one to up to 10 years. Historical charts include the last sale from the current day.
The standard charting elements offered for display by most companies are the OHLC, with comparisons to the Nasdaq Composite, Nasdaq-100, S&P 500, DJIA and All Indices. Additionally, some offer charts that can be viewed displaying moving averages for 10 days, 60 days, 90 days or 270 days. Charts displaying Historical Splits and a table containing the split amount, ex-date, pay-date, record-date and announcement date are also available. Some sites such as NASDAQ offer a free stock chart containing earnings information and a table containing the date of the earnings announcement.
Free stock charts and related software come in a variety of forms, ranging from suitable for Simple Simon up to the E-Trade baby's Expert Investor level. Most independently track the market on a constant basis and give you, in addition to graphs, alerts to show when you should buy or sell.