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Do You Need Strategies For Trading Stocks?

Aug 17, 2007
Just as there are two dominant styles of investing, there are also two dominant styles for trading stocks. Growth investors buy and hold young companies with big potential.

Value investors buy what they perceive to be undervalued stocks, and hold them until their value is realized. Growth and value are styles for stock trading, too, but they differ from their investment counterparts.

The Difference Between Investing in Stocks and Trading Stocks

Investors buy and hold with the hope of long-term appreciation. People engaged in stock trading buy for the hope of a quick flip.

Some hope to hold for three weeks or even a couple months. Others want to hold their stocks for only a few days or even less than one day - some people engaged in trading stocks will buy and sell the same stock several times the same day!

Trading stocks that rapidly is a strategy of neither growth nor value, which are both longer-term strategies, even for traders. When talking about stock trading, as opposed to investing, long-term doesn't mean decades or years, but just a few weeks or months.

Trading Stocks Strategy #1 - Value Plays

Trading stocks based on valuation is the more conservative of the two strategies we'll explore. This strategy for stock trading relies on finding stocks with prices that are beaten down, and hoping for a turnaround.

Some examples of stocks like this in the current market are eBay (EBAY), Intel (INTC), Microsoft (MSFT), and Yahoo! (YHOO).

People who like stock trading on value love it when we enter a bear market. They view it as a buying opportunity! If you begin trading stocks this way, you need to buy on the "dips" - each time a stock goes down in price, and sell on the "pops" - each time it bounces back up.

Also, you probably want to stop stock trading altogether when the market is on a big bull run. After all, from your perspective, there won't be any bargains to be found.

Trading Stocks Strategy #2 - Growth is Good

Growth traders are pretty much the exact opposite of value traders. While value traders love it when stocks are "on sale" during a bear market and get out of the market altogether when things are bullish, growth traders love it each time stocks hit new highs and stop stock trading when things turn bearish.

Growth traders tend to rely very heavily on charts, and what is called "technical analysis." By contrast, value traders prefer "fundamental analysis" - examining a company's income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow in order to determine its real value.

Growth traders pose the question that if you keep buying on "dips," what if your stock turns out to be Enron? They say that buying each time a stock hits a new high makes more sense, because a stock can't really fly unless it continuously hits new highs.

Growth traders say that you should always, no matter what, sell any stock if it falls 7 or 8 percent below your purchase price, and this way, you're guaranteed not to lose too much. Meanwhile, if you keep buying on the highs, some of your stocks are going to go through the roof, more than making up for any of the 7 or 8 percent losses you might sustain.

The Truth - Trading Stocks Requires Discipline

Each of these strategies for stock trading has its merits, and both have worked, historically. Where most traders go wrong is failing to stick to their game-plan.

If you're going to be involved in trading stocks, you must develop a strategy, and by all means, stick to it!
About the Author
William Smith the author provides much more financial information on many subjects as well as the secret to his success in the market along with 5 Free power stock picks emailed daily so grab your Free subscription on his website at Trading Stocks (All is Free)
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