holding period of a stock

The holding period of a stock refers to the duration for which an investor holds onto a particular stock before selling it. It is typically measured from the purchase date to the sale date. The length of the holding period can vary widely depending on the investor’s strategy, investment goals, market conditions, and other factors. So, for instance, if you bought shares of any company on 10th December 2020 and sold them on 10th December 2023, your holding period will be 3 years. But why must you calculate the holding period? The two main objectives of calculating holding period are:

  • To calculate returns generated by an investment
  • To determine capital gains tax obligations on your investments

To calculate the holding period return (HPR) of a stock or investment, you need to know two key pieces of information: the initial investment value (usually the purchase price) and the final investment value (usually the selling price). The holding period return formula is straightforward and is expressed as a percentage. Here’s how you can calculate it:

  1. Determine the Initial Investment Value (P): This is the price at which you purchased the investment.
  2. Determine the Final Investment Value (F): This is the price at which you sold the investment.
  3. Calculate the Holding Period Return (HPR) using the formula:



  • F = Final Investment Value
    • P = Initial Investment Value
  • Multiply the result by 100 to convert it to a percentage.

Here’s a breakdown of the steps with an example:

Let’s say you bought a stock for 1,000 and sold it later for 1,200.

  1. Initial Investment Value (P): 1,000
  2. Final Investment Value (F): 1,200

Now, use the formula:





So, the holding period return for this investment is 20%.

This calculation gives you the percentage return on your investment over the holding period, which can be useful for evaluating the performance of your investment.

More about investment


The holding period is one of the essential components in stock investing as it helps you compare the returns from different stocks and make a relevant strategy to achieve the highest potential returns. Therefore, without analysing the holding period, you will be losing out on a simple way to make the best investment decisions, which will eventually impact your profits while selling the stocks.

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By fathom

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