During the course of a trading day, many things can happen to affect a stock's price. Along with good and bad news relating to the operations of a company, any sort of distribution that is made to investors will also affect stock price. These distributions can include cash dividends, stock dividends and stock splits.
When distributions are made, the adjusted closing price calculations are quite simple. For cash dividends, the value of the dividend is deducted from the last closing sale price of the stock. For example, let's assume that the closing price for one share of XYZ Corp. is $20 on Thursday. After close on Thursday, XYZ Corp. announces a dividend distribution of $1.50 per share. The adjusted closing price for the stock would then be $18.50 ($20-$1.50).
If XYZ Corp. announces a 2:1 stock dividend instead of a cash dividend, the adjusted closing price calculation will change. A 2:1 stock dividend means that for every share an investor owns, he or she will receive two more shares. In this case, the adjusted closing price calculation will be $20*(1/(2+1)). This will give you a price of $6.67, rounded to the nearest penny.
If XYZ Corp. announces a 2:1 stock split, investors will receive an extra share for every share they already own. This time the calculation will be $20*(1/(1x2)), resulting in an adjusted closing price of $10.
We have examined the simplest and most common corporate actions that can affect a stock's closing price. However, if a more complicated action, such as a rights offering, is announced, the adjusted closing price calculation can become quite confusing. Historical price services provided by financial sites such as Yahoo! Finance eliminate the confusion by calculating adjusted closing prices for investors.
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Definition of 'Adjusted Closing Price'A stock's closing price on any given day of trading that has been amended to include any distributions and corporate actions that occurred at any time prior to the next day's open. The adjusted closing price is often used when examining historical returns or performing a detailed analysis on historical returns.
Investopedia explains 'Adjusted Closing Price'The adjusted closing price is a useful tool when examining historical returns because it gives analysts an accurate representation of the firm's equity value beyond the simple market price. It accounts for all corporate actions such as stock splits, dividends/distributions and rights offerings.
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