What is a Point in Stocks?

What is a Point in Stocks?

Points measure price changes in individual stocks and stock market indexes. For most stocks, one point represents a dollar change in price. For indexes, points may have a different value based on the index’s methodology and composition.

Understanding point movement is essential for individuals interested in investing and aligning strategies with market trends. This article will explore what points are and how they differ from percentages.


A point in stocks is a unit of change that is used to measure value changes in individual stock shares. A one-point change in the price of a stock is equal to a $1 increase or decrease. Points are also often used to measure changes in stock indexes such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average or the Standard & Poor’s 500. Although not the same as percentages or basis points (bps), these other measurements of minute changes, points are useful in measuring changes in other kinds of securities such as bonds and currencies.

The use of points in stock indexes is a way to make it easier to analyze the performance of these markets. Since indexes are made up of many different stocks, even seemingly insignificant movements in individual stocks can have a significant impact on the overall value of an index. By using points to measure these movements, investors can get a better picture of the movement of these markets and make more informed investment decisions.

Those who use points in their trading will sometimes refer to these movements in terms of “points and dollars,” meaning that a one-point increase or decrease is equal to a dollar increase or decrease. However, this can be misleading for those who are not familiar with the terminology. In reality, a point is actually a unit of measurement that represents an actual dollar amount, so two stocks can have the same number of points gained or lost and still register different percentage gains or losses.

For this reason, it is important for those who trade and invest in the stock market to be familiar with the term, as well as with how different types of securities are measured. Understanding the relationship between points and percentages is also helpful, as it offers a more complete view of stock and index performances. Moreover, knowing how to measure indexes and their components offers a more standardized means of discussing minute changes in rates and ratios that would be difficult to express otherwise.


One of the most important things to remember when trading stocks is to never invest more money than you are comfortable losing. This is because the stock market can be volatile, and a small movement in price can result in large losses or gains. One way to limit this risk is to diversify your portfolio by investing in a variety of stocks. You can also use various strategies to protect your investment and maximize your potential profits. One strategy is to buy stocks at a low price, or at their buy point. The buy point is the price at which a stock is first offered for sale, and it is usually set by the seller. It can also be determined by the market conditions and the overall market.

When used in reference to individual stocks, a point generally means a dollar in value. For example, if a stock rises by 10 points, this indicates that its price has increased by 10 dollars. The same is true for stock indexes, though they don’t exactly correspond to dollar values. The point value for a stock index is calculated by a complex weighted average of the stocks that comprise it, so it doesn’t actually represent the actual dollar value of those stocks. This can make it difficult to compare the values of different indexes, since they can’t be directly compared to the value of individual stocks.

Although points are a useful way to track price movements, it is essential to consider percentage change as well. Percentage change takes into account the proportional increase or decrease in a stock’s value, offering a more holistic view of its performance.

Understanding what a point in stocks is and how it works can help investors make better decisions and align their strategies with market trends. It’s also important to have a clear understanding of how indexes work and how they measure their value, as this can help you make more informed investments. Additionally, being familiar with the concept of basis points can enhance your understanding of the stock market even further.


A point in stocks is often used as a unit of measurement when discussing price changes for individual stocks or broader market indexes. For individual stocks, a point change is equivalent to a one-dollar increase or decrease in the stock’s value. For indexes, a point change is based on the cumulative increase or decrease in the prices of all the stocks that make up the index. This makes it easier to analyze the overall performance of an index rather than analyzing the performance of each individual stock.

However, the term is commonly misunderstood. It is often confused with percentages, particularly when talking about bond and currency indexes. People often say that a currency or index is up or down X number of points, but the word “points” should always be replaced with the word “percentages.” Likewise, people often use the phrase “shares are up or down by Y number of points,” but this phrase should be avoided, since shares represent actual dollar amounts.

While points are a useful tool for measuring the movement of stocks, they do not translate well to other investments. Using the term “points” when discussing bonds, currencies, and interest rates can be confusing because they do not necessarily mean the same thing. For example, when someone says that a bond is up or down by a certain number of points, it is important to clarify whether they are referring to dollars or basis points (bps).

A share of a publicly-traded company is a fractional ownership claim in that company. It represents a proportional claim on the company’s net assets and future earnings. Historically, public companies with solid financial records have offered investors high long-term returns for those willing to stick with them over time. However, shares in these companies are not without near-term risks and are considered speculative. This is why it is so critical for new investors to understand the risks and rewards of investing in a stock before making any decisions. As such, it is important to do your homework and choose a reputable broker that offers an online trading platform for researching stocks.


When you’re just starting out in the stock market, it can be confusing to understand all the terms that are thrown around. One of the most common terms is “points.” While it’s important to have a clear understanding of what points are and how they are used, there is also a lot of misinformation out there about points.

For example, many people confuse points with percentages. This can lead to misunderstandings and errors when trading stocks. A point is actually a unit of measurement, not a percentage. One point equals 1/100th of a percent, or 0.01%. For this reason, when someone says a stock price went up by five points, it’s not actually the same as saying the stock increased by 5%.

In the stock market, points are used to measure changes in individual stocks and broader market indexes. For individual stocks, a point usually represents a one-dollar change in price. Market indexes, like the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500, use a different calculation for points. They are based on the overall price movement of a group of individual stocks and take into account the weightings of the index’s component stocks.

Using points allows for more accurate comparisons between stocks and market indexes, as it is an absolute measure of change. While percentage changes are still useful when discussing price movements, they can be more difficult to interpret for beginners. For example, two stocks may lose the same number of points, but have very different percentage changes because of their varying initial prices.

Points are also used to measure other financial instruments, such as bond yields and currency exchange rates. These measures are typically referred to as basis points, rather than points. In the case of a bond, a single point equals 1% of the total value of the instrument. Therefore, when a bond’s yield or price increases or decreases by one basis point, it means that the instrument has changed in value by 1%. In other words, a bond that is worth $100 has now been worth $101 – a change of $11. For this reason, traders should always be careful when comparing information about markets in different countries.