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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Capital Gains and the 2008 Income Tax Statements

Do you have patrons asking you for back issues of the Wall Street Journal so that they can accurately report their capital gains?

In the past, most small libraries could not help their patrons answer these kinds of questions but now they can. A few weeks ago I introduced you to Mergent Online and I suggested the benefits of having your patrons get a Worcester Public Library card. Well, with Mergent Online you or your patrons can now retrieve historical stock prices. Navigating your way through is a little tricky so make a copy of the directions and the process will only take minutes.

1. Go to Mergent Online from the Worcester Public Library homepage.

2. Click on the tab "Enter Mergent Online."

3. Type in a company name or ticker symbol.

4. One company or more than one company will appear in a list. Choose the correct company and click on it.

5. Click on the Tab "EQUITY PRICING."

6. Scroll down to the word CONTROLS:
a) click button "Date From"
b) if you want the closing cost of a stock for a certain date (for instance, 09/12/2008), then you must enter the date "from and to" like this: 09/11/2008 to 09/12/2008. As you can see the date range is separated by at least 24 hours.

7. To the right of the date range are the words "Show Grid." This must be checked off.

8. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "Draw Chart."

9. A chart will be presented to you. Above the chart and on the left is the dollar amount at the close of 09/12/2008.

10. Your date range needs to be a minimum of 24 hours apart but it can certainly be years apart as well. So, if you want to see the opening and closing costs for each day throughout the years then go to the Tab at the top and click on "REPORTS."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You can also find historic stock prices online for free at (click the "Historical Quotes" tab). I've also found them in the past at but I don't see the historical section at the moment. Yahoo has a tendency to redesign their sites randomly.

Not that Mergent isn't a good product and it's certainly more comprehensive, but for those who don't have easy access, BigCharts can help.

Marcie Pierson
Reference Librarian
Grafton Public Library

CMRLS Regional Reference Center, Worcester Public Library, 3 Salem Sq, Worcester MA 01608