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In FinancialData there are two similarly named properties one can request for a given stock symbol: Change and FractionalChange. What is the difference between these two properties?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

"FractionalChange" is the change, represented as a fraction of the previous price:

{change = FinancialData["AAPL", "Change"],
 fracchange = FinancialData["AAPL", "FractionalChange"],
 today = Last[Last[FinancialData["AAPL", "Close", {{2013, 7, 1, 0, 0, 0}}]]],
 yesterday = Last[Last[FinancialData["AAPL", "Close", {{2013, 6, 28, 0, 0, 0}}]]]}

(* ==> {12.69, 0.032, 409.22, 396.53} *)

{change, today-yesterday}

(* ==> {12.69, 12.69} *)

{fracchange, (today-yesterday)/yesterday}

(* ==> {0.032, 0.0320026} *)
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Consider the closing price of Apple on the last friday (i.e., 4 days ago):

p1 = FinancialData["AAPL", {DatePlus[Date[], -4]}, "Value"]


Now consider the yesterday's closing price (i.e., 1 day ago):

p2 = FinancialData["AAPL", {DatePlus[Date[], -1]}, "Value"]


The difference between these two prices can be calculated:

p2 - p1


This is exactly the dollar ammount, given by the "Change":

FinancialData["AAPL", "Change"]


Now consider the percent change of Apple from friday until monday, given by $\dfrac{P_{t}-P_{t-1}}{P_{t-1}}$:

(p2 - p1)/p1


This value is what is given by "FractionalChange":

FinancialData["AAPL", "FractionalChange"]


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