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Your Ultimate Guide to Trading Stocks Read Article
Company spotlight Scottrade One of the most recognized and respected names in stock and commodities trading, Scottrade has been developing industry-standard tools for over three decades. The company offers several trading platforms and research tools, which could help you stay informed and ahead... Read Reviews
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Investing the stock market takes discipline in order to be successful. Jumping in blind with no more idea of what to do other than “buy low, sell high” is the quickest way to lose your money. Without some guidelines to help you out along the way, it's easy to make mistakes and get discouraged. The good news is that investing isn't rocket science. Even the smartest Ivy League college graduate knows that successful investing means following the rules. So before you start navigating the waters of Wall Street, here are 10 rules that every investor should be obeying: Know What You Own – The hottest new tech company may be all Wall Street and your friends are talking about but if you don't understand what it is they do or how they actually make a profit, take a pass on it.   Cash Is Also An Asset Class – Too many investors think that they need to be all-in in order to be a successful trader. Keeping cash on the sidelines though means that when an opportunity presents itself, you… Read more

Owning a winning stock that's worth more than when you originally purchased it is a great feeling. As long as it keeps going up, you'll want to hold on for the ride. But knowing the right time to sell a stock is arguably more valuable than knowing when to buy one. It might seem counter-intuitive to sell a winner, but there's one key point you need to keep in mind: until you actually sell a stock and pocket those profits, you haven't actually made any gains. On paper it may look like you're successful, but don't let that distract you from the fact that those gains aren't real. If you sell a stock at a profit and it keeps rising, you still made a profit. But if you hold a stock too long, it can decline in value faster than you think erasing those gains in the blink of an eye. There's an oft-repeated phrase in Wall Street circles, “bulls make money, bears make money and pigs get slaughtered. Experienced investors know how to buy a stock before it becomes… Read more

There's one simple rule when it comes to investing: buy low and sell high. It's a simple enough philosophy in theory, but much harder to implement in practice. In order to actually make a profit, you need to purchase a stock at a cheaper price than when you sell it. The problem lies in knowing what price a stock should be trading at and when you should buy it – and conversely, when you should sell it. Knowing what price a stock should be valued at is something Wall Street analysts excel at uncovering. Through rigorous research they are able to estimate data in advance and place target prices on stocks so investors know where a stock will be trading at in the future. It may seem like pseudo-science to guess what the future will bring, but the actual methods for predicting where a stock will be trading aren't quite as complex as you might think. With a little due diligence, you'll be able to track your own stock picks and make estimates as to where they'll be trading a… Read more

In order to determine a stocks value, analysts pour over company financial statements in order to find trends, strengths and weaknesses. They break down the data and present it to investors through different ratios designed to help them make quick comparisons and make predictions about where a stock is headed. These financial statements include the balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement. They reveal information about the financial health of the company including efficiency, profitability, liquidity, and numerous other details. Let's take a closer at each financial statement and see what kind of information we can find. The Balance Sheet This statement contains details on a company's assets, liabilities and shareholder's equity. It will tell you what kind of assets it owns and what types of debt the company owes. The numbers on the balance sheet will always add up according to the following equation: assets = liabilities + shareholder equity. This relationship means that assets (what the company owns) must be paid for using either debt financing (liabilities) or investor money (shareholder equity). Key things to note on… Read more

Once you're confident trading stocks, you may want branch out into options trading. Adding options to your investment strategy can add depth to your portfolio, boost gains and reduce risk. You may already know how puts and calls work. Now you need to figure out how to use them effectively to take advantage of all the benefits option trading possesses. Covered Calls A covered call is bullish option strategy that helps reduce downside risk. It works in conjunction with owning the underlying stock but limits overall upside. Let's use a hypothetical stock as an example: Let's say you own 100 shares of XYZ stock trading at $25 and you think the stock is going to go up in the next few months but you want to protect yourself if the stock drops as well. You sell a call for $50 a few months out at $30 per share and pocket the $50 gain. If the stock closes higher than $25 but less than $30, the call will expire worthless and you'll keep the $50 profit plus you'll still own 100… Read more