How to Buy and Trade Stock

Stock chart
Stock chart (Image: Google Images)

Despite market volatility, investing in the stock market remains a good long-term method of accumulating wealth. With the ease of obtaining stock investment information and low trading costs, it has never been easier for the small investor to buy and trade stocks like a professional investor. However, despite the ease of getting into the stock market, it is not always easy to make money. Before jumping in there are some steps you can take to increase your chances of investing in the stock market successfully. This article will give you some tips to get started right in the stock market.

Define your investment objectives. Before buying or trading stocks you need to determine your investment objective and time frame. If your objective is long-term growth, you will consider certain stocks that will fit your criteria. If your objective is to trade often to aggressively maximize your profits, you will look at another type of stocks.

Research stock investments. Once your investment objective is defined, you will need to research stock investments that meet your investment criteria. For example if income is more important to you than growth, you will look at more stable dividend paying stocks. Investment research is readily available online. There are lots of good research and information that you can use in evaluating your stock investments.

Compare broker costs. The brokerage commission is very competitive so commissions can be very low for buying and trading stocks. This will save you money and increase your returns, but compare each broker for the services you will need. The lowest price is not always best for your needs. Determine what services you will need such as research and advice before comparing brokers. Make sure that the broker you choose can provide you with the customer service you require.

Diversify your portfolio. To reduce volatility in your portfolio, don't put all your eggs in one basket. Spread your investments among several options so that one bad one does not drag your entire portfolio down.

Monitor your portfolio's performance regularly. You don't have to be glued to your portfolio's performance, particularly if you have a long-term perspective, but you need to be aware of how it is doing. Review your performances several times a year if not every quarter. Don't panic if your portfolio is down, but you may want to adjust your strategy if it is required.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider dollar cost averaging or investing a set amount at regular intervals. Dollar cost averaging will lower your average cost when the stock is down. It also gives you the discipline to invest regularly.
  • While you can find a lot of free information and research online beware of stock recommendations online such as stock forums. Often it is filled with people promoting stock scams.

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