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What Makes Stock Prices Go Up or Down?

What Makes Stock Prices Go Up or Down?
Bogdan Stojkov

Sometimes rising to new heights and other times plummeting unexpectedly, stock prices are constantly fluctuating. For those unfamiliar with the intricacies of the stock market, these movements may seem mysterious and unpredictable. However, there are ways to understand what makes stock prices go up or down, and we’re about to get into them.

How to predict if a stock will go up or down?

Navigating the stock market requires a keen understanding of the various factors that influence stock prices. From economic indicators to psychological factors, a multitude of elements contribute to the ebb and flow of the market. The key ones include:

  • Economic indicators;
  • Company performance;
  • Market sentiment;
  • Supply and demand;
  • Interest rates;
  • Global events;
  • Technological advances;
  • Psychological factors.

Economic indicators

One of the primary drivers of stock price movements is the state of the economy. Economic indicators, such as GDP growth, unemployment rates, and inflation, can have a significant impact on investor sentiment and, consequently, stock prices.

  • GDP growth: When the economy is growing steadily or experiencing robust growth, companies tend to see higher revenues and profits, which can lead to increased investor confidence and higher stock prices;
  • Unemployment rates: Low unemployment rates indicate a strong job market, which often translates to higher consumer spending and corporate earnings, driving stock prices up;
  • Inflation: Moderate inflation can be a sign of a healthy economy, but if inflation rises too quickly, it can erode purchasing power and lead to higher interest rates, which may negatively affect stock prices.

Company performance

The performance of individual companies also plays a crucial role in determining whether their stock prices will rise or fall. Investors closely monitor factors such as revenue growth, earnings per share (EPS), and profit margins to gauge the financial health and prospects of a company.

Market sentiment

Investor sentiment—the overall mood and attitude of investors towards the market—can heavily influence stock prices in the short term.

  • Positive news or events, such as strong earnings reports or favorable economic data, can boost investor confidence and drive stock prices higher;
  • On the other hand, negative news or events, such as geopolitical tensions or disappointing corporate earnings, can lead to pessimism and cause stock prices to decline.

Supply and demand

At its core, the stock market operates on the principles of supply and demand. When there is high demand for a stock and limited supply, its price tends to rise as investors compete to buy shares. Alternatively, when supply exceeds demand, prices may fall as investors rush to sell their shares.

Interest rates

Interest rates set by central banks can have a significant impact on stock prices.

  • When interest rates are low, borrowing costs are cheaper, which can stimulate economic activity and lead to higher stock prices;
  • On the flip side, rising interest rates can increase borrowing costs for businesses and consumers, potentially dampening economic growth and causing stock prices to decline.

Global events

It’s no secret that events on the global stage, such as geopolitical tensions, natural disasters, or pandemics, can have far-reaching effects on stock prices. Namely, these events can disrupt supply chains, affect consumer confidence, and create uncertainty in the market, leading to volatility and fluctuations in stock prices.

Technological advances

Advancements in technology can also influence prices, particularly for companies operating in the tech sector. Innovations and breakthroughs can drive growth and profitability for these companies, attracting investor interest and pushing stock prices higher. Then again, companies that fail to keep up with technological developments may see their prices suffer.

Psychological factors

Lastly, we have psychological factors. Emotions and behaviors such as fear, greed, and herd mentality, can significantly impact investor behavior and contribute to stock price movements.

During periods of market euphoria, investors may exhibit irrational exuberance and drive stock prices to unsustainable levels. Meanwhile, during times of fear or panic, investors may sell their shares indiscriminately, causing prices to plummet.

How to set stock price alerts?

A great way to track stock prices going up and down is through Finbold Alerts—our custom service delivering multi-asset market price notifications directly to your preferred social media platform or email. Our Bold Alerts feature provides timely updates on various financial instruments, including stocks, crypto, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), forex, and indices.

To get you started with Finbold Alerts, we comprised a simple step-by-step guide which you can find right here.

Disclaimer: The content on this site should not be considered investment advice. Investing is speculative. When investing, your capital is at risk.

FAQs about what makes stock prices go up or down

How is stock price determined in real-time?

Stock prices in real-time are determined by the continuous interaction of buyers and sellers in the stock market. When someone wants to buy shares, they place a bid, indicating the maximum price they’re willing to pay. Sellers offer their shares at an asking price. When a bid matches an asking price, a trade occurs, updating the stock price.

What factors influence stock prices?

Stock prices are influenced by various factors, including economic indicators, company performance, market sentiment, supply and demand, interest rates, global events, technological advances, as well as psychological factors.

Can individual investors influence stock prices?

While individual investors may not have the same level of influence as institutional investors or large funds, their collective actions can still impact stock prices, especially for smaller companies or thinly traded stocks.

How quickly can stock prices change?

Stock prices can change rapidly, sometimes within seconds or minutes, especially during periods of high volatility or in response to significant news or events. To track these changes accurately and in a timely manner, we suggest using Finbold Alerts.

Is timing the market a good idea?

Market timing, or attempting to buy and sell stocks based on short-term price movements, is notoriously difficult and fraught with risks. Instead of trying to predict short-term fluctuations, it’s generally advisable for investors to focus on long-term investment goals and maintain a diversified portfolio.

How do dividends affect stock prices?

Dividends are payments made by companies to their shareholders as a share of the company’s profits. While dividends can provide a source of income for investors, they typically have a less direct impact on stock prices compared to factors such as earnings growth and market sentiment.

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