What is a point in the stock market: key features and point change meaning for stock exchange

October 3, 2023

Are you intrigued by the importance of the term point? Within the intricate landscape of the investing world exist many terms bewildering newcomers. Point is among them. Let us look deeper into it.

Understanding the Basics of Stocks

You need to learn about the nature of stocks to understand what a point is. Stocks represent ownership shares in a company. When you buy a stock, you will purchase a fractional ownership stake in that company. Becoming a shareholder grants you certain privileges like a vote right on specific company matters. As a shareholder, you can get regular dividends from your investment.

If the company performs well, the value of your stocks will appreciate, enabling you to sell your shares at a higher price than your initial purchase. If the company encounters financial challenges, the value of your stocks will depreciate. In such cases, you might either sell your shares at a loss or hold onto them with the expectation that the company will eventually recover.

Decoding Stock Market Points: What Investors Need to Know

One basis point represents a one-dollar change when it comes to stock trades. When you observe changes in the number of points, you will see fluctuations in dollar values.

Points are commonly used to indicate short-term shifts in share prices, such as those occurring within a single day or week. However, for longer-term changes spanning months or years, percentage changes are frequently utilized.

It's worth noting that while both points and percentages are used to gauge price fluctuations, they can display different interpretations. For instance, by saying the stock has lost 50 points in a day, in percentage amount that would only mean a 0.50% decrease. In such cases, the numerical point loss may seem substantial, but the percentage decrease is relatively modest.

Nonetheless, points and percentages are just two methods for presenting stock values, each with advantages and drawbacks.

So, a solid understanding of what a point signifies and how it affects the stock value gives you the necessary knowledge to make informed investment decisions before you buy stocks.

Index point switches in a stock & bond market

One point explained as a unit of measurement used to gauge fluctuations in the value of financial instruments. Typically, one percent equates to 100 basis points. They are used regarding alterations in interest rates or bond yields.

In the context of stocks and bonds, such markers denote the percentage shift in the security's price. For example, if a stock's price moves from $100 to $101, this signifies a 1% change or 100 basis points.


Here, points serve as the markers of the interest rate. One point equals one percent of the total loan amount. These mortgage points are paid upfront and serve either to reduce the interest rate or lower the monthly payment. 

Interest rates

Interest rates signify the portion of an investment disbursed as interest. For instance, investing $100 in a bond with a 5% interest rate yields $5 in annual interest earnings. The higher interest rates, the greater interest yields income, but they also come with heightened risk.

Foreign Exchange Currencies

Regarding foreign exchange (FX) trading, professionals use basis points in price quotations and calculations. A mere one-point move in an FX rate may appear inconsequential, yet it can substantially influence currency valuations.

Imagine a situation when the USD exchange rate stands at 1.2500, and a trader intends to purchase 100,000 euros. At this rate, the cost of acquiring euros totals $125,000. However, should the exchange rate experience a shift to 1.2505, the expense for the euros escalates to $125,500.

Bond Market

In the bond market, points are used to measure the price of a bond relative to its face value. The face value of a bond is the amount that the issuer of the bond will repay to the investor at the maturity date.

One point is equal to 1% of the face value of a bond. For example, a bond with a face value of $1,000 has 100 points. If the bond was trading at 95 points, it is sold at 95% of its face value, or $950.

Interpreting Basis Points Shifts for Success at Stock Exchange

When it comes to stocks, a point serves as a standardized unit of measurement used to monitor price change. When someone mentions that «the stock has lost or gained 10 points», they are essentially conveying that the stock's value increased by ten units. It's important to note that the term point can also pertain to alterations in the values of other financial instruments, such as bonds and futures.

Points are a valuable tool in making decisions regarding when to buy or sell an individual stock. On one hand, if you anticipate that a stock's value will appreciate, you may consider purchasing it before the price rises. On the other hand, if you anticipate a decline in a stock's value, you may think about selling it before the price of a stock drops.

However, it's crucial to recognize that points solely represent a unit of measurement and do not inherently signify the exact monetary gain or loss associated with a stock. While points help in tracking a stock's performance over time, investors need to integrate them into a broader analysis of factors influencing investment decisions. Anyway, you should conduct thorough research and seek guidance from a financial advisor before making any investment choices.

Percentage change or point change: what's better to calculate stock price

The choice between calculating stock price changes using percentages or points depends on your specific needs and the context of your analysis. Both methods have their advantages and are used in different situations.

The first is often commonly used while analyzing the performance of a stock over an extended period, comparing the performance of multiple stocks, or when dealing with stocks with varying price levels.

The second one is better when you need a quick snapshot of how much the value of a stock has moved in absolute terms, especially for short-term trading or making rapid decisions.

Stock Points vs. Stock Index: What's the Difference

A stock market index represents a subset of the broader stock market, monitoring the fluctuations in the share prices of specific chosen companies to gauge the overall market performance. To make a long story short, they serve as vital indicators of the market's health. To construct indices, experts aggregate the values of the selected company stocks and then divide this total by a divisor, resulting in a weighted average that characterizes the index.

Moreover, the term point holds significance both in quantifying the value of an individual company's stock price within the market and in expressing movements within an index, such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) (stock market index that tracks 30 large, publicly traded companies listed on the NYSE and the Nasdaq Stock Market). For instance, if the DJIA index value experiences a gain of 100 points, it signifies that the average price of the constituent stocks within the index has increased by 100 index points.

How to predict changes in a stock index

There are three main ways to predict changes in a stock or index:

  1. Technical analysis. In technical analysis, historical stock price data is used to calculate and identify patterns and trends. In the future, this data will help to understand if points rather go up or down. 
  2. Fundamental analysis. It refers to analyzing a company's financial performance and other factors, such as its industry outlook and competitive landscape, to assess its intrinsic value and potential for future growth. 
  3. Quantitative analysis. Quantitative analysis uses mathematical and statistical models to predict whether a stock gained x number of points or lost.

AI technologies and their effect on stock price movements and market capitalization

Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are having a significant impact on market capitalization. AI is being used to develop new trading strategies, analyze market data, and automate tasks. This is leading to more efficient and profitable trading, as well as more informed investment decisions.

In particular, AI algorithms use predictive analytics to forecast future changes in the stock market. Investors use these predictions to anticipate potential changes in a stock and adjust their portfolios accordingly.

Final thoughts on point in the stock market

Let's sum up. One point is a measurement unit employed to monitor stock value fluctuations. While points are a valuable metric for interpretation, it's crucial to recognize that they are just one aspect to consider when making investment choices.

Diversifying your portfolio, conducting thorough research, strategic planning, and seeking advice from a financial advisor are all essential steps before starting an investment journey. And remember: stocks are volatile, so don't invest more than you are comfortable losing.