How to Start Learning the Stock Market - Many novice investors think where should I start investing? Because there is a lot of stock information available both online and offline. Those of you who have no previous investment experience will definitely be attracted to the stock market because you know that stocks offer the possibility of much higher returns than savings accounts.. Over the last sixty years stocks have recorded average annual returns of more than 10 percent.
Study Stocks that Suit Your Goals
Before starting an investment program, an individual must consider his financial goals and tolerance for risk. All stock investment involves the risk of loss -- the chance that the stock will decline in value
after you purchase it. You can find stocks that are extremely risky in nature but have the chance of extremely high returns, or those that could be called conservative. These are companies with steadily growing earnings that are major forces in the markets they compete in. Establishing your investment goals allows you to narrow down the number of stocks you need to study. One measure of risk or volatility is called the stock's beta. Riskier stocks tend to have higher betas, meaning they go up and down faster than the overall market.
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A good way to get a feel for stock investing is to be a voracious reader of investment periodicals such as "Barron's," "The Wall Street Journal," and Investor's Business Daily." These publications discuss which stock sectors are performing well, analyze individual companies' prospects for future growth, and provide forecasts for the direction of the overall market.
Stock Research Organizations
Morningstar, Standard & Poor's and Value Line Investment Survey are
examples of companies that publish comprehensive analysis about stocks and mutual funds, providing them to investors on a subscription basis. The analysis is available in print form and also online format. Public libraries often subscribe to one or more of these services, so the beginning investor seeking to learn can access them for free.
Online Brokerage Firms
Online brokerage firms provide investors with research and recommendations about individual companies as well as tools to help the small investor construct a portfolio that fits her objectives. They provide analysis of a stock's volatility and risk. They also allow the investor to monitor the price movements of their stocks throughout the trading day. They present this stock performance information in easy-to-read charts.
Mutual funds are investment companies that purchase and hold the shares of a number of public companies. When you buy a mutual fund share, you participate in the gains -- or losses -- in all the securities the fund has selected. You don't have to worry about picking individual stocks on your own. By keeping track of the investments the fund's managers have chosen, you can learn the basics of constructing your own diversified stock portfolio.
Test Your Knowledge
Beginning investors may reach the point they have made a group of stock selections but hesitate to actually purchase the shares because they aren't yet confident in their stock analysis skills. Try constructing an imaginary portfolio with your selections and follow their performance over a six month period. If they don't perform well you can adjust your selection strategy before you actually commit money to the stock market.