Observing the gyrations in the stock market, at some point today the NASDAQ was up 0.30%, and as I tried to verbalize this figure, I realized how unnatural it is to say "it is up zero point three percent." OK, it may not be that bad, but what about the Dow being up right now "0.11%". Do people in finances say "up point eleven percent"? Do they revert to fractions?

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    I think I just got the answer after entering the right Google search query: Basis points. So 30% up would be "up 30 basis points"? There may be other ways, so I'll leave the question up. – Toni Feb 6 '18 at 18:23
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    You are right. BPS (basis points) is the common unit for expressing changes. But the conversion goes like this: 1 basis point equals 1/100%. So 30% up will be 3000 basis points. 0.3% is equal to 30 basis points. – Kannan Feb 6 '18 at 18:52
  • Up eleven percent is 11/100 not 11/10,000. You can go with approximate fractions (1/10 of a percent) or basis points (11). Either way, we're not going to brag about the gain ;->) – Bob Baerker Feb 6 '18 at 18:53
  • @BobBaerker Re: 11%, and to avoid confusion, I wrote "point eleven", meaning 0.11%. I wonder if the "point" part was overlooked in your comment. – Toni Feb 6 '18 at 19:14
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    @just questions - 0.11% is expressed as point one one percent not point eleven percent. – Victor Feb 6 '18 at 21:22

Sometime people refer to 'points', such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average being up 200 'points'. That means that the price of the index increased by 200.

However, this is not particularly precise because you need to know what the value of the index is in order to determine how large the movement is. If two traders are talking to each other, that is probably fine as both will know what the typical price of the index is. If you're dealing with a member of the public, it can be less clear.

As a result, people (e.g. the financial news media) end up using percentages or sometimes "tenths of a percent".

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