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Stock Trading For Dummies - Your Guide To Understanding Stock Trading Basics

Jun 6, 2008
When it comes to trading on the stock market, there are two choices to make, either randomly choosing and hoping for luck or using strategies to determine what stocks to buy, when to sell and how to protect your investment dollars. It is much smarter to use strategies, but the investor will have to choose from hundreds of different strategies. There are a couple of methods that have worked well for many years. Beginners should first investigate these basic strategies to see how they perform, and then the investor may explore new methods.

Protecting your investment by reducing the risk that comes with holding a certain stock is known as hedging. A put option makes it possible to sell the stock for a set price during a predetermined period of time. This will offset some risk that comes if the stock decreases in price. The put option value is increased if the price of the stock happens to fall.

The most costly hedging strategy is that of buying put options against individual stocks. Buying a put option on the stock market itself may be a better idea if your portfolio is broad. That way, you will be protected against general declines in the market. Selling financial futures, such as the S&P 500 futures, is another trick to hedging against market declines.

This strategy was used by many during the 1990s bull market. The strategy works by choosing the ten stocks out of the 30 in the Dow Jones Industrial Average that have the highest dividend yields and lowest price-to-earnings ratio. All the companies on the Dow Index have long histories of reliable performance, so the ten lowest components would therefore have the greatest growth potential in the short-term. The new Pigs of the Dow strategy is an offshoot of the Dogs of the Dow. The Pigs strategy works by selecting the five Dow stocks with the worst performance over the past year. The idea is that the Pigs will rebound and perform better than the rest of the Dow components.

When you buy stocks on margin, you are borrowing money to pay for your investment. If the margin is 100%, you can buy twice as many shares as you would have if you did not buy on margin. Usually, this loan comes from your broker. The upside to buying on margin is that your money goes further. The downside is that if the stock goes down, you will still have to pay back the loan. Therefore, you should limit your margin buying and place stop-loss orders to put a floor on your losses if the market should go against you.

One of the best ways to grow your investment securely and effectively is to use cost averaging. The idea behind dollar cost averaging is to purchase a set dollar amount of stock or mutual funds on a set schedule. For example, you can purchase $100 of a particular mutual fund every month. The idea behind this is that you will be making purchases in both rising and falling markets. As the price rises you will be able to buy fewer shares and as the price falls you will be able to buy more shares.
About the Author
Learn successful stock and Trend Trading with our exclusive tips, tools, and techniques. Start Trading Stocks profitably with our no cost stock trading report for traders of all skill levels. Get your free copy at http://www.StockTradingReview.com today.
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